Flood victims seek scheme help

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  • Published 9.12.10

Bhagalpur, Dec. 8: They voted against the apathetic attitude of the ruling NDA but now they want development from the Nitish-led government.

The residents of the villages located near the two embankments of river Kosi are apprehensive about the fate of the Kosi Sufferers Area Development Agency (KSADA), a constitutional body established by the state government to bring about development of the area.

After the construction of the Kosi barrage in 1954, embankments were built to tame the river. Nearly 386 villages having sizeable population fall under the two embankments spread across, Madhubani, Supaul and Saharsa districts. Around 70 villages having around 1.25 lakh population fall under Mahishi Assembly constituency.

Sources said having been denied justice over decades, hundreds of people living near the two embankments of the Kosi river this time voted against the ruling party and subsequently managed to ensure the victory of RJD’s Abdul Ghafoor from Mahishi seat at Saharsa district.

The anti-incumbency factor gave Ghafoor a victory but the absolute mandate received by Nitish Kumar this time angered the voters here. How would Ghafoor raise his voice for the development of the embankments areas of Kosi and would the Nitish-led government take interests to bring developments in the region when the voters at Mahishi seat rejected the ruling party this time is the general perception of the residents of Mahishi segment.

The NDA alliance managed to win Saharsa, Sonbarsha and Simri Bakhtiarpury while RJD won the Mahishi seat at Saharsha district. “We voted against the ruling party as they failed to do any thing for us. But now we have realised our mistake because the RJD victory would not solve our purpose. The Nitish-led government may not pay attention to our plight and miseries,” said Anil Kumar, a resident of Mahishi village.

Woh subah kabhi to aayegi,” (the much-awaited morning will come some day) Mohammed Kashim a resident of Mahishi, said. Kashim is a survivor of the Kosi floods of 2008. “We failed to cope with the trauma and succumbed to it in the absence of any proper rehabilitation scheme to lead a normal life again,” Kashim said.

The Nitish-led government failed to take care of KSADA because of local NDA leaders did not take the issue seriously, alleged Bijoy, a social activist. He said to him KSADA was constituted with the recommendation of the Pathak Committee Report during the Bindeshwari Dubey governmnet in 1987. The committee had recommended various development measures, including the approval of allotting 15 per cent reservation in III and IV grade government jobs in the districts for the people living between the two embankments. KSADA, the statutory body was formed by an act passed by the state legislature, he said.

Political observers at Kosi belt said Congress leader, Lahtan Choudhary was the first chairman of the statutory body who resigned from the post in 1991 after Lalu Prasad became the chief minister of Bihar in 1990. During the RJD’s tenure, Binayak Prasad Yadav and Abdul Ghafoor became the chairmen of KSADA. But observers blamed the leaders for their failure to bring about developments through KSADA.

“When the Nitish-led government for the first time came to the power in 2005, we hoped that our fate would change. However, the government focused on other development agendas and KSADA remained defunct alleged Sunil Yadav, a farmer. Former JD (U) MLA from Mahishi who this time did not get the ticket and contested as an independent candidate, said the government only built a mega road bridge at Baluaha Ghat over river Kosi and that has brought about development in the backward region.” But when asked about why the previous government remained inactive to include KSADA in its development agenda, he remained tight-lipped.

Newly elected MLA, Ghafoor claimed that he would try his best to provide justice to the people of that region by raising his voice on the floor of the House. “My priority would certainly be to focus on KSADA so that the area is developed,” he said.