Sitapur2 hours agoAuthor: Rajesh Sahu
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Suman is 32 years old widow. Has 2 daughters and 1 son. She lives in a small shed with all three children. In the next 15-20 days, the water in the Saryu river will increase and this thatched house of theirs will be destroyed by the erosion of the river. Then she will never be able to come back here. After this, she will start living at a higher place nearby with the same people whose house was washed away last year. They got assurance in the name of help, but the land has not been received yet.
Akhari, Amraura, Ataura of Sitapur are situated on the banks of Sarayu river. Here in the last 3 years the erosion of the river increased so fast that about 40 houses were washed away. Thousands of acres of agricultural land got absorbed in the river. Again many houses are on the verge of collapse. So where will those people go? What to do? What help do they need and what are they getting? Dainik Bhaskar’s team reached these areas of Sitapur to know all this. Let’s know everything from the very beginning…
First went farming, now it’s time to go home
Akhari village is on the Sitapur-Barabanki border. Saryu river passes by its side. The people here call it Ghaghra river. Earlier the river was about 2 km away from the village. But for the last three years the erosion increased so much that more than 15 houses of this village were submerged in the river. 7 houses are in such a condition that they will be submerged in the river as soon as the water rises. Not that all of them have been living there for 10-12 years. The father of all these people, their father was born and lived here. Everyone has papers of their lands.
Earlier the river was 1 kilometer away from here but now it has come right next to the village after getting cut.
From Rampur Mathura via Chandpur we reached Akhri village. There the Irrigation Department is building a dam to save the rest of the villages from erosion. 15 laborers were engaged in laying big stones. This work was to be completed on June 15 but has not been completed yet. Passing through this dam, we reached Akhari’s Baba’s hut. We first met Chandrabhushan. When he saw Dainik Bhaskar’s mike, he came to us. His first word was, Sir, we had cultivated sugarcane in 15 acres but the entire field got submerged in the river, till date no compensation was received. There was farming worth 2 lakh rupees. Will he get it now?
I am a widow, don’t know where I will go
As soon as we got down from the dam, we reached Baba’s hut in Majra. There were about 15 houses here till three years ago. Now only 6-7 are left. Suman’s house is on the other side of the river. Her husband has died only last year. Now only a distance of 4 feet is left between his house and the river. When we reached, his three children were sitting on the cot outside the house. There were some sacks and boxes in the house. There was no arrangement of light. We asked, are you not afraid in the dark of night?
Suman says, “I am scared but what should we do, we went to the Pradhan, asked him to get the connection done or to get solar lights installed. He had said that here when your house will go into the river and you will start living on the embankment above, then you will install solar lights.” We asked if you do not have any other place other than the embankment? The land that was nearby went into the river. Now there is nothing. Wherever we get, we will live there.
The house was washed away in the erosion, now a place built in the middle of the river
We found Surendra Tiwari inside the village. He was waiting for a boat to take a plank to the middle of the river. We asked what is there? Surendra explains, “Earlier we had our house here. Everything was destroyed in the felling. After that the land we have is in the middle of the river. We go there and live with our 4 children.” On the problem there, he says, “The problem is of everything, instead of dying here, we will die there. When the land was lost, we went to the then Kanungo Sangha Prasad for compensation, he demanded 50 thousand. Took it. From where to get the money now?”
Virendra Tiwari, Surendra’s brother, says, “All the land in the middle of our river has been lost. We haven’t received even a single rupee as compensation. Today people are starving. Those who come to investigate see everything and then go away. I myself went to all the authorities but got no help from anywhere.”
We only get Lai-Chana from the government
We tried to understand the current and future situation there from Chandrabhushan. He says, “Now the village is slowly being cut off. As the river flows in spate. There is so much fear that one has to tremble. Everyone’s house gets drowned. Those who have banks, they get cut and flow away. We live on Bandha for three months. Here only laiya-chana is available from the government. We had sugarcane cultivation worth about Rs 2 lakh, everything got drowned but even after two years we did not get a single rupee.
After this we reached out to the people whose houses were washed away in last year’s flood. All of them are living with thatched roofs. We found Rakesh and his wife there. Rakesh says we are here since last year. Our house was in Baba’s hut. When he was washed away in the river, we got Rs 95,000 as compensation. But the land could not be found till date. When we tell the Pradhan, he says that there is no land here.
Rakesh’s wife says, “There is neither water nor latrine here. Nothing can be seen here in the darkness of the night. We asked the pradhan several times, so he got a solar panel installed here.” We asked, this is not your place, you will have to build a house somewhere, right? She says, “If you get land, then build a house. At present, land is not available anywhere. While our land is gone.”
When the school sinks, they study but are tied up.
We got 9 years of season only on Bandha. Ritu Akhri studies in the 5th class in the primary school of the village. He has two school uniforms and two other clothes in the name of clothes. On the problem happening here, she says, there is a lot of problem here. We have to fetch water from far away. When asked about studies from Ritu, she says, the water gets filled in the school, then we have to go to the village to study. Many times we study sitting here on the bandha.
Former Pradhan said – Dam was not built when it was needed
In the village itself, we found former Pradhan Devraj Tiwari. He says that in the last 3 years, 20 houses in Akhari village, 10 houses in Baba Kuti and 17 houses in Shankarpurwa have been destroyed. In this, most of the people have got compensation for their house, but Mania Devi, Suman, Awadharam, Udaybhan and Mahendra have not received any compensation even after a year has passed. All those whose houses were destroyed are now living on shacks.
When we asked about the government’s measures to prevent erosion, he said, “We had written a letter three years ago when the erosion had increased. The Irrigation Department also sent a proposal to the government that a dam should be built to protect Akhari village from erosion. The administration did not pay any attention. If the dam that is being built now was built earlier, people would not have been forced to come and live on the dam. Some people are also being given land to settle down, but it is in Raisenpur. The people of this village are not far from Raisenpur. want to go.”
Lekhpal said – I have just been posted, no information
Presently, the Lekhpal of Akhari Gram Panchayat is Satish Kumar. We asked him the reason for those who did not get compensation. Satish says our posting has just happened, so I don’t know before. The paper has been made for the compensation of the two people whose house has gone this time. The paper will also be made for the rest of the people who are on the cutting edge. As far as the matter of compensation for the land is concerned, the big officers will take a decision.
Sitapur’s DM Anuj Singh and SP Ghule Sushil Chandrabhan had reached Akhri village last days. At that time, Irrigation Department engineer Shashikant Singh was instructed to save Akhari village from erosion at any cost. At that time some people of the village told the DM that last year you had talked about getting bamboo carat inserted. After working for two days, it was closed. When the DM questioned JE Sanjeev Upadhyay on this, he stood up with his head bowed.
At present, it does not seem easy to save these villages. These villages get drowned as soon as the water rises. It is necessary that there should be proper arrangements for the needy people to live. They got compensation for their fields. Build a new school for the kids. Some employment opportunities should be made available. This is the demand of the villagers.
The talk of Sitapur Katan ends here. You can read more special reports of Dainik Bhaskar here:
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