600 residents in Malda, West Bengal have been facing problems for a decade due to water logging and unmetalled roads in their village.
Imagine having to wade through knee and waist-deep stagnant water for upto 5 months in a year. This is exactly what has been happening in Baliadanga village in Malda district, West Bengal. Esrajul Islam, a resident of the village describes the complicated routes he has to take everyday to go to work. “I go in through other people’s houses, crossing from one roof to another and climbing makeshift ladders to avoid the water,” he says.
Community Correspondent Soriya Banu’s report further reveals that during monsoon, the water rises to impossible levels. Children walking around in the village get infected sores from walking in the dirty water. “This has been the case for the last 10 years. If they had built a proper road, people would have been able to use it to go to school and work,” adds Esrajul. In fact, some of the houses in low lying areas on the side of the road are constantly flooded because of the lack of drainage.
The community has collectively appealed to various authorities to solve the issue. “We have appealed to everyone from the Panchayat head to the Block Development Officer, even the local Member of Legislative Assembly and Member of Parliament. Nobody has helped us. Previously school-going children would use this road. But now they have to go to school via a longer, more roundabout route,” says an aggrieved Esrajul.
Soriya met the Panchayat head Karima Khatun in October. She promised on camera to get work started as soon as possible. In fact, she promised to drain the water away from the road within fifteen days and start work on repairing the road as soon as funds were sanctioned. Two months have passed since then and her promises have just remained empty words. People of Baliadanga continue to suffer. If you want to help them, call Karima Khatun, the Panchayat Pradhan (head) on +91-9732804265 and urge her to fulfill her long overdue assurances of making Baliadanga habitable for its residents once again.
Video by Community Correspondent Soriya Banu
Article by Madhura Chakraborty, a journalist in the VV editorial team