Rahul Gandhi visits Bihar flood victims
Before Rahul Gandhi stepped into the floodwater at Chandpur-Bhangha, he had already crossed several cesspools of complaints, report Ramashankar & AN Jha.Updated: Sep 09, 2008, 22:02 IST
Before AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi stepped into the floodwater at Chandpur-Bhangha on Tuesday to reach the boat awaiting him there, he had already crossed several cesspools of complaints.
The complaints varied from lack of proper food and medicines to lack of place to sleep. But the biggest complaint of people was - whatever little was available in the relief camps dotting the towns and the main roads, was simply absent in the interiors.
Not surprisingly, he decided to take a boat ride across the turbulent expanse of the Kosi in spate to Murliganj where he would be able to see for himself what those who have not been able to move out to the safer zones are facing.
He got a trailer at the Banmankhi-Dharhara relief camp where a wailing Dashrath Dehati appealed him, "You are a representative of the government of India. You must see to it that the relief you send reaches us."
"All we are getting in the name of food is rice and pulses. In the name of shelter we are getting polythene sheets, which cannot protect us from the sun and heavy rains. There are no medicines for those who fall ill," Manjhi added. The flood victims handed him a couple of petitions.
Similar complaints were made to him at camps that lay before and beyond. At the K Nagar relief camp, he was surrounded by people who told him the food was just good enough to keep them alive but added that there was an almost complete absence of sleeping arrangements.
He did not forget the security personnel of the army and other security agencies. At the Jankinagar Branch Canal camp he interacted with the security personnel deployed there including those of the BSF and NDRF and asked them about their well-being and their mission and operational bottlenecks if any.
Earlier after flying down to the Bagdogra airport in west Bengal, he drove down in a Toyota to Kishanganj where he stopped at a restaurant to have his lunch. Barring the short break it was a fast-clipped tour which saw the young Congress MP receive a memorandum from the Purnia Congress president Indu Sinha detailing the villages and blocks of the district flooded besides the number and status of relief camps.
In the businesslike trip there was no place for an interaction with the media. Kshanganj district Congress president Ishaq Alam said Rahul Gandhi's visit was intended to have a first hand knowledge of the relief being provided and the problems being faced by the victims.