Araria26 minutes agoAuthor: Rahul Kotial
Only the elderly, women and middle-aged men are left in the village now. These people do farming together, most of the young boys go to the grain markets of Punjab and work as laborers.
- Ten days ago, Kamalananda Mandal’s son went to Punjab to work with 25 boys from the village, these people went out on the 1800 km journey just before the election because keeping the family is more important than voting.
- The Muslim vote is the largest vote bank in this seat after the Mandal community, but despite being the strongest in the strength, only one Muslim has won from here and only one Mandal candidate once.
67-year-old Kamalananda Mandal is a staunch supporter of the BJP. He was overjoyed when his son brought him a white T-shirt bearing the picture of Prime Minister Modi. But these days, he is registering his opposition to the BJP in Bihar elections by wearing the same T-shirt upside down.
Kamalananda says, ‘The MLA who did not do a single money job for us, BJP gave him the ticket again. Since the 2017 floods, our lives have become unhappy. We pleaded with our MLA many times but he did not pay any attention to our problem. This time we will not let him win under any circumstances. ‘
Kamalanand Mandal resides in the Forbesganj Assembly of Araria district. The MLA he is expressing his displeasure with is named Vidyasagar Kesari. Vidyasagar Kesari, the sitting MLA from Farbisganj, has been re-nominated by the BJP this time and the anger of the people in Kamalanand Mandal and most of his village.
His village, situated near the Indo-Nepal border, is named Naya Tola. This village of Bhagkohalia Panchayat was badly affected by the floods in 2017. The area suffered heavy damage that year due to the breaking of the Parman River embankment. Local people complain that the embankment has never been built since 2017, due to which now the village has started flooding at least 7-8 times every year.
Kamalanand Mandal is a staunch supporter of the BJP, but is displeased with the work of the local BJP MLA.
This area comes under the Kosi-Seemanchal region. Along with the Kosi river, which is called the ‘Mourning of Bihar’, many other rivers that enter India from Nepal also bring destruction here every year. Parman is one such river which is borne by thousands of families every year.
Mahanand Mandal, a resident of the same village, says, “Due to the embankment that was broken in 2017, only one of our block has been affected by 16 panchayats. On an average, five-six villages in each block are affected and there are about two hundred families in each village. Since 2017 none of our crops have flourished. The fields remain waterlogged for months. So far this year, our village has been flooded eight times.
Floods come in these villages every year, but in the name of compensation, these people are not given even a single penny. Gokul Kumar Mandal says, ‘Compensation was received only in 2017, that too only six thousand rupees. Since then, floods come every year but compensation never comes. If even half a foot of water fills in the streets of Patna, there is a discussion everywhere, but if our fields and crops remain submerged for months, no one comes to ask.
Due to the frequent floods, farming has become extremely difficult in this area. Due to this, migration from this region has started happening even faster. Talking about the new village Tola, there is not a single youth in the entire village. Most of the young boys of the village go to the grain markets of Punjab and work as laborers.
His village, situated near the Indo-Nepal border, is named Naya Tola. This village of Bhagkohlia Panchayat was badly affected by the floods in 2017.
About ten days ago, Kamalananda Mandal’s son has gone to Punjab to work with 25 boys from the village. Filled in a ‘pick-up’ vehicle, all these boys set out on an 1800-kilometer journey from Araria to Punjab just before the election because the family’s catering is more important than voting.
Only the elderly, women and middle-aged men are left in the village now. These people do farming together, and these people do not get the right price for the only crop that they have grown throughout the year. Mahananda Mandal says that this year he cultivated 40 quintals of maize. The minimum support price on maize was fixed at around Rs 1800 but no one in the market was willing to pay this price.
He says, ‘I kept maize at my house for two months and waited for a good price. But, when the corn started being planted, I had to sell maize at the cost of thousand rupees per quintal. In such a situation, what will our children do if they do not go out for wages. In this area, it is no longer possible to feed with agriculture.
Since the 2017 floods, many villages in the Bhagkohlia panchayat remain under constant threat. During that flood, the embankment built on the Peepada Ghat of Parman river was broken, which has not been repaired till date. Due to this, if the water level of the river rises a little, then there is a flood-like situation in these villages.
During the 2017 floods, the embankment at Peepada Ghat of Parman river was broken, which has not been repaired till date.
Says Gokul Mandal, ‘If the embankment is not fixed, maybe in the coming years the direction of the Paraman river will change forever and the river starts flowing through our village. All the villages in the east of the canal that passes from Bathnah through Araria have now become the same danger. If the MLA had built even those embankments, at least he would not have taken the grain out of our mouths.
Gokul Mandal also states that not only his village but his entire society has decided to defeat BJP candidate Vidyasagar Kesari this time. He says, ‘The majority of the voters in this seat are from the community. There are about 1.25 lakh votes of mandals here, who have been voting for BJP only for years. We have decided by meeting that if we have to field a Mandal candidate to cut the BJP’s vote, then we will do that too, but this time Vidyasagar Kesari will not be allowed to win. ‘
Zakir Anwar of Congress is contesting this seat against Vidyasagar Kesari. He has won the election on the BSP ticket from Farbisganj once before. The Muslim vote is the largest vote bank in this seat after the Mandal community. But, interestingly, despite being the strongest in numbers, till date only one Muslim candidate has won this seat and only one Mandal candidate only once.
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