Here, home is wistful memory

More than a thousand people have been living here, but it doesn't even flaunt a name. Rakeeb Hossain reports.

india Updated: May 02, 2006 13:23 IST

Address: Nowhere Road Time: Election Status: Obscure voters on nameless land They have a plot of land. But no clean drinking water, no food, no road, no school, no doctor, no medicine, no electricity, no housing, no work... The list is endless.

Throw in a twister. The place, where more than a thousand Indian citizens have been living for the past eight months, doesn't even flaunt a name.

But this swathe of newly-raised sandbank (char) on the eastern bank of Padma river on the Indo-Bangladesh border under Jalangi assembly constituency, has become a rallying point for politicians contesting from it. Everyone here is searching for an identity -- that of colour, ethos and nationality.

For the residents of this char, this election is something more than just pressing the magic button on the machine. It is their only hope for survival and returning to the mainland. You don't have to jog down memory lane for a recap.

These people were thrown out of the mainland after the Padma swallowed their homes and hearths last monsoon.

"The engineer gave up saying that the time was too short for embankment bouldering, but the district magistrate told us that the task would be taken up on an emergency basis. Politics played spoilsport and work was delayed. Last September, Padma devoured the entire Paraspur village and half of Toltuli. When the landless tried to settle on the farmlands that were still available, the land owners threw them out. Finally, the district administration took these people to the other side of the river, where a new char was coming up" says Zakir Hossain, a local villager.

With elections round the corner, the thousand-odd votes have suddenly become important and candidates are promising the moon. The Congress candidate, Subrata Saha, has promised these people a safe journey back home.

The CPI(M) sitting MLA Unus Ali Sarkar has promised a better life. He says he will look into their problems and his priority would be to give them the identity and home they crave for.

First Published: May 02, 2006 11:56 IST