Farmers suffer most, as govt turns blind eye to floods in North Western Bihar

By Nafis Haider, 

Bihar: Flood is a regular event in Bihar, but this year’ the water in Ganga and its tributaries including Sone, Gandak, Ghaghara are on a continuous increase. After creating havoc in the Seemanchal area of Bihar, monsoon this year has built up yet another condition of flooding in the districts of Gopalganj, Samastipur, Siwan, Bhagalpur, Khagadiya and Patna.

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There has been a steady increase in the water level of Ganga and Gandak, which continuously reach above the danger level.

As per the State Disaster Management Department (DMD), 8,362,451 people have been affected by the flood this year which primarily include farmers and landless labourers. Added to the already flooded districts of Purina, Katihar, Kishanganj and Araria, by Kosi and Gandak, approximately half of Bihar is underwater. But, the relief operations from the government are nowhere to be seen on the ground.

Talking to, Ravi Kumar, a middle-class farmer from Parsawuni, Gopalganj said, “The crops are already spoiled and if the rain continues whatever is left will also be submerged.” There will be no harvest this year for Ravi Kumar. His cattle are also starving because of the lack of fodder. Farmers are unable to provide fodder to their cattle due to the fields being completely submerged in water. spoke with Tasarun Nasreen, a primary school teacher who said, “This year, there has been a significant rise in the level of water in the canals which usually remain dry. The water of Ganga has flooded the Samaur Bazar and the nearby fields, the waterlogging and the lockdown have created a detrimental effect on the local economy. There has been an abundance of fishes in the artificial ponds, but no place for the fishermen to sell.”

Heavy incessant rainfall in Muzaffarpur has created a problematic situation for the farmers as well as the urban dwellers.

Amil (name changed), a resident of Muzaffarpur city, while speaking to .com, stated, “The heavy rainfall has caused water logging in the whole city. Even the highway is underwater. The poor drainage system and the rain have become detrimental for the people here and the break in the sewage canal due to the pressure of the water only adds to the problem. The crops are all destroyed; farmers are not able to sell anything. The little harvest that they had this year has also got rotten due to high humidity and the lockdown has closed all options to sell them quickly.”

Amil spoke about the protest of the local RJD workers who rowed boats in the city as a sign of protest against the negligence of the state government headed by Nitish Kumar. The COVID-19 containment wards that have been built on the abandoned airstrip of Patahi Airport in Muzaffarpur, is filled with knee-deep water. While the Water Management Department (WMD) ministry claims that it has released relief packages for the stranded in the flood, Amil said that no help is in sight. “They all eat up the money. The poor always remain the one left to suffer,” he said.

As per the report of DMD, 25 lives have been lost in the flood up till now but the government is completely negligent on this issue. The WMD Minister, Sanjay Kumar Jha has taken the regular excuse of blaming Nepal for the flood, but the locals in Patna claim that this situation could have been avoided if the authorities were vigilant. Imtiyaz, a resident of Phulwari Sharif, said that the flood along the Digha and Danapur area is the result of miss management of the government. The lack of a proper drainage system and delay in the construction of proper roads and bridges creates regular waterlogging in the areas. The State government has been complacent in building dams, and in improving flood control measures, which cause Patna to be a regular sufferer during the time of Monsoon.

Every year in Bihar, thousands of people suffer and many are killed in floods, yet the government has done little to improve conditions on the ground. . The lack of dams and maintenance of the proper drainage system makes the situation more difficult. Gandak, Ghaghara, Khiroi and Ganga are the reason for perennial flooding in Sitamarhi, Samastipur, Muzaffarpur, and Patna. In the absence of any help from the government, more will suffer if the monsoon continues.