Busy with elections, Bihar Govt suspends Kosi rehabilitation work | india | Hindustan Times
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Busy with elections, Bihar Govt suspends Kosi rehabilitation work

With the state government putting the relief and rehabilitation work in flood-hit areas on hold due to the general elections, victims of the Kosi river flood last year have been left to suffer, reports Aloke Chatterjee.

india Updated: Apr 09, 2009 13:48 IST
Aloke Chatterjee

With the state government putting the relief and rehabilitation work in flood-hit areas on hold due to the general elections, victims of the Kosi deluge following a breach in the dam at Kusaha (Nepal) last year have been left to suffer.

This has been done when the state government is ‘yet to meet’ the targets proposed for the rehabilitation of the victims of the unprecedented floods, said an NGO, Oxfam India, which has been engaged in flood relief work in the State.

“They (victims of flood) have lost their fertile land and livelihood,” said Oxfam India’s humanitarian manager Rajesh Kaushik on Wednesday. How will they live now, he asked and urged the state government to immediately resume the rehabilitation work.

When contacted, Principal Secretary of the State’s Disaster Management Department, RK Singh, said that relief and rehabilitation work has been ‘suspended’ and will be resumed ‘soon after elections’.

“The relief and rehabilitation work has not been stopped but merely suspended. We had to do it because district administration officials are busy with the elections. We will resume it by May 20,” he added. However, Oxfam India described it as an ‘unfair stand’ of the state government.

A report by Oxfam India on the scenario in Bihar after the Kosi floods in August 2008, many flood victims are yet to get due compensation from the government.

A large number of people still have no option but to live in their badly damaged dwellings. Health facilities, too, are not adequately available to the victims while crime and corruption are high in the flood-affected regions, the NGO report has claimed. People from flood-affected areas continue to migrate from the state due to loss of livelihood and shelter.

The ‘roadblock’ in the rehabilitation programme has hit the farmers and labourers the most as fields have now become infertile due to sand left behind by the Kosi river. The course of the river has changed and the floodwaters have altered the landscape of the affected areas, the Oxfam India report added.