Water level reduces but problems remain intact for border residents
Even as water has started receding in the swollen Ravi, trouble of the flood-hit residents of six border villages seems to be everlasting. The water level reduced by 10 feet in the Ravi on Monday.
Though the administration claims to have total control over the situation and communicating with villagers living either side of the river, the flood-hit people rubbish its claims.
The Basanter drain that flows down from Pakistan to merge into the Ravi in the Indian Territory, which had created huge breaches in the dhusi bandh, had forced the people to shift to the roofs of their houses.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Nirmal Singh, a resident of Ghiana-Ke-Bet, said he had been waiting for a rescue boat to move from Dharamkot Pattan to Ghiana-Ke-Bet since Sunday evening.
Though the army has pressed two boats into service, both are being used to ferry their personnel. With the motorboat of the public works department (PWD) not functioning, people are dependent on local boats that work only when the water current is weak.
One can gauge the administration's efficiency from the fact that Dera Baba Nanak SDM Vaneet Kumar, who has been sent to the spot by the Gurdaspur deputy commissioner to assess the situation at Ghiana-Ke-Bet, had to wait for over two hours for the approval of the army authorities to visit the affected villages.
However, he could not reach the villages due to high level of water."Look at our condition, we are stuck on the roofs of our houses for the last three days, but not a single official from the administration approached us," said Jaswant Singh, while lambasting the administration.
Ghiana-Ke-Bet sarpanch Bhola Singh said for the last two years, he had made several requests to the administration for making an appropriate arrangement for their mobility across the river, but none of the officials pay any heed to his repeated request.
"This is not for the first time that the flood has hit us, every year our crops are damaged by water from the Ravi and Basantar and every time we have been assured of compensation, but till date, except half a dozen plastic sheets to cover ourselves, we got nothing from the administration," he added.
"Even entry to our home is restricted from 7am to 7pm and we are frisked each time we return from other side. Sometimes, we doubt about our citizenship," rued Bhola.
Satnam Singh, who has 15 acre across the Ravi, said the administration had asked them to stay away from the river, but how he could remain confined when his entire yield submerged in water.Besides tall claims, nothing concrete was done to save farmers from fury of floods, averred Satnam.