The promise of road connectivity has defined the votes of the people of Dasraha and Baruara; their hopes are now pegged on the state government’s “seven commitments.”
Dasraha village in the Mohanpur block of Samastipur has had one complaint for a quarter of a century now. There is no road that connects their village to the nearest urban centre. What they have in the name of a road is a dirt track which is used by 300-400 persons everyday. Their proximity to the mighty river Ganga makes their situation even worse. The low-lying river bank they live on, as well as the only route out of the village, is inundated with flood waters in the monsoon.
When the state government announced the Saat Nishchay Scheme, which translates to ‘seven commitments’, the residents saw some hope. The seven commitments, apart from promising the staple bijli, pani, sadak (electricity, water, roads), also include toilets and sanitation, skill development for the youth, job reservation for women and higher education infrastructure.
The residents of Baruara village in Bahadurpur, Darbhanga, face a similar predicament– the lack of road connectivity, overflowing rivers and unkept promises. Here, the residents even approached the village council and the local legislator. While the council did not discuss the matter in the following village assembly, Bhola Yadav, the legislator, said that a road would be built under the Saat Nishchay Scheme.
Suneeta Devi, a resident of the village, says that it is particularly dangerous for children. “I was walking up to a higher spot when I slipped off the submerged road and fell into the water around along with my children. Luckily, someone pulled us out of the water.”
“When elections are round the corner, the politicians seek votes with the promise of progress. We are from the Musahar (Dalit) community, we also do as they say. But then they don’t act on their promises,” says Sukhru Sada, another resident of Baruara.
The homes in this village, many of which are thatched huts, also get damaged in the monsoon, and residents are forced to take shelter in a higher, dry place.
“We take all our belongings and go to an elevated place by the main road, or take shelter at the nearby madrassa” says Sada, appealing to the government to get the road built.
Along with threat to life and property, the community also suffers from economic losses as the flood waters submerge their farmland as well. The lack of roads also impacts access to healthcare and educational facilities and hampers employment as people are unable to get out of the village.
Jaykumar, from Dasraha, also wants the government to step in immediately. “They should fill the low-lying land and construct a small embankment to keep the flood waters at bay”, he says, hoping for a road, soon.
Support the residents of Dasraha and Baruara by calling the Block Development Officers of Mohanpur and Bahadurpur at +91-9431818570 and +91-9431818201, respectively, and apprising them of the pressing road problem.
Video by Community Correspondents Ranjeet Kumar and Manganu Ram
Article by Alankrita Anand, a member of the VV Editorial Team