A differently-abled couple, anticipating Rs 45,000 as flood relief grant after having triplets in Bihar’s flood-hit Begusarai district, was left high and dry when the district administration refused to give them the compensation.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar recently promised Rs 15,000 and Rs 10,000 for every girl and boy child, respectively, born in a boat, relief camp or hospital in flood-hit areas.
Nitu Devi, wife of Pankaj Shah from Zila Punarwas village in Matihani block of Begusarai district, delivered triplets - all girl children. Though not registered with any flood relief camp, the 25-year-old claimed to have made it to the nearest makeshift medical camp in the area - at Matihani middle school - when she developed labour pain on Monday.
Accredited social health activists (ASHAs) brought her to the Matihani referral hospital, where she delivered her babies.
“If the government is giving the grant for childbirth in flood-affected areas, my daughter should also get it for her three children,” said Nitu’s mother, Aruna Devi.
The district administration, however, claimed that Nitu came from an area that was not flood-affected and so she is not eligible for the chief minister’s compensation.
“The woman’s husband brought her to the hospital after she developed labour pain. It is a simple case of institutional delivery, says the report of the block development officer. Since the woman was neither evacuated from a flood-affected area nor she delivered the triplets during flood evacuation, she will not be entitled to the CM’s grant,” Begusarai district magistrate Md Naushad Yusuf said.
While the southern end of the Laxmaniya Gupta bund (embankment), which houses the village, is flooded, the northern side, where Nitu stays, is only partially affected.
“As per the decision, money will be paid per child if delivery takes place during flood evacuation or in relief camps or in cases referred by doctors of relief camp,” Vyas Ji, principal secretary with disaster management department, said.
The disaster management department said the flood was caused mainly because of a spate in river Ganga apart from Sone, Punpun, Burhi Gandak, Ghaghra, Kosi and other rivers which have affected 37.53 lakh people in 12 districts of the state. At least 165 people have died.
At least 7.15 lakh people have been evacuated so far from the flood-affected districts of Buxar, Bhojpur, Patna, Vaishali, Saran, Begusarai, Samastipur, Lakhisarai, Khagaria, Munger, Bhagalpur and Katihar.