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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

Sudden closure of community kitchen worries flood victims in East Champaran

After 250-odd flood victims requested the authorities to reconsider the decision, the kitchen was reopened and food was cooked on Tuesday, but the kitchen has not been operational since Wednesday evening

patna Updated: Aug 01, 2019 15:05 IST
Sandeep Bhaskar
Sandeep Bhaskar
Hindustan Times, Sagauli (East Champaran):
Many people affected by floods in Bihar’s East Champaran district continue living in roadside camps as their houses are still submerged or badly damaged.
Many people affected by floods in Bihar’s East Champaran district continue living in roadside camps as their houses are still submerged or badly damaged. (HT Photo)
         

Hundreds of flood victims in East Champaran’s Sagauli were in shock on Tuesday, when the district administration announced the sudden closure of a community kitchen at Kasherin Chowk, a short distance from Sagauli railway station. However, after 250-odd flood victims requested the authorities to reconsider the decision, the kitchen was reopened and food was cooked on Tuesday, but the kitchen has not been operational since Wednesday evening. 

“Why don't you speak to CO saheb and buy some time for us? He was bent of discontinuing the services from today (Tuesday) itself. On our request, meal was cooked in the day, but now the cook has left the place with utensils and all other cookware,” said Sheikh Saddam, a resident of Aamir Khan Tola, who has taken refuge in a camp put up at Kasherin Chowk. 

HT travelled to some of the flood affected villages to see the situation. Located at a distance of 25 km from Motihari, district headquarters of the East Champaran district of Bihar and 3 kms north of Sagauli railway station, there lies a cluster of villages namely Aamir Khan Tola, Pawariya Tola, Bhatwa Tola and Nimuyi.

Even as floodwaters receded at Aamir Khan Tola, Pawariya Tola, Bhatwa Tola and Nimuyi, HT found that many houses continued to be slippery, with foul stench emanating from the surroundings. At least half a dozen houses were still submerged and badly damaged.

“We know that food relief cannot continue for long. But sky will not fall, if it is stretched for a couple of more days as things have not normalised yet,” said another flood victims. 

Against this backdrop, many villagers have decided to continue living in roadside camps. However, HT found no traces of the utensils at the place which served as community kitchen at around 3pm on Tuesday. 

“We will manage eating bitten rice and bhuja, if the district administration has decided to discontinue the community kitchen. We cannot risk the safety of our children, who are vulnerable to snake and scorpion bites in the still submerged houses,” said Jabseena Khatoon, another villager.  

When contacted, Sagauli circle officer (CO) Gyan Prakash Sharafin conceded that the district administration was considering to discontinue the community kitchen as the water level has receded in the area. But when informed about slippery houses and waterlogging, which have made the houses unfit for residency, he said, “The community kitchen will continue for few more days.”

First Published: Aug 01, 2019 15:05 IST

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