300,000 people displaced by flood in perennially parched Bundelkhand but leaders can’t care less

Incessant rain in Madhya Pradesh has swollen the rivers Betwa and Ken and have further added to the dangerously flowing Yamuna in the lower basin, making life miserable for the people

Bundelkhand floods (social media)
Bundelkhand floods (social media)

Sunita Shahi

Although three hundred thousand people in Bundelkhand have been affected by floods, there is no news in the media about their plight. Nor has the Government come out with situation reports. Campaign for the by-election in Hamirpur has hogged the headlines instead.

People of over 120 villages in Hamirpur and 70 in Mahoba have been displaced and have taken shelter on roads and highways with their belongings and their cattle. They were displaced after water was allegedly released from the dams of Matatila in Lalitpur of Uttar Pradesh, Hathnikund Barrage in Yamunanagar district in Haryana and Kota Barrage in Rajasthan. Overflowing water finally entered parts of Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh via the Yamuna.

Incessant rain in Madhya Pradesh has swollen the rivers Betwa and Ken and have further added to the dangerously flowing Yamuna in the lower basin, making life miserable for the people, who have otherwise been used to the perennial drought in one of the mostly parched region of the country.

Hundreds of houses have collapsed in these villages. Several thousand acres of their standing kharif crops- til (sesame oilseed), mung (green lentil), urad (white lentil), arhar (pigeon pea) and juwar (sorghum) were completely destroyed.

Swatantra Dev Singh, BJP state president of Uttar Pradesh didn’t feel like even mentioning the woes of the food affected people in rural Bundelkhand during his recent visit to Hamirpur. He made it clear that people's issues are not his party’s agenda, contentious issues are.

“Only you, we (the BJP) and (Narendra) Modiji will chant Jai Sri Ram and Bharat Mata ki jai”, he said while adding that leaders of other parties wouldn’t raise these slogans. “We will provide pakka houses and tap water to every household by 2024”, said Singh.

As flood waters enter more villages of the region, schools and colleges along the Yamuna, Betwa and Ken were closed on Monday for indefinite time after local officials inspected the areas on motorboats and steamers.

AK Niranjan, Executive engineer of Mauhoda Dam in Hamirpur district said that the danger marks of Yamuna, Betwa and Ken are 103.54 metre, 104.64 metre and 104.20 metre respectively and they were flowing two to four metres above it in the region.

Jai Singh Senger, a farmer from Dariyapur, where floodwater entered five ago, said, “All our crops were completely destroyed. No politician or government officer has visited our village. There is no drinking water, no electricity and nothing to cook. Let us see how long we survive on the roads. The rising water may soon overtake the roads.”

Pankaj Singh, village panchayat chief of Dariyapur told reporters, “Such kind of flood is new to us. We don’t know how to deal with the situation and there is nobody to tell us either.”

“We learnt from newspaper reporters that there are relief camps for us about 30 to 40 kms from our villages. But who will take so many villagers to those camps?”

The by-election for the Hamirpur Assembly constituency is scheduled for September 23 for which all political parties have fielded their candidates. The seat fell vacant after local BJP MLA Ashok Singh Chandel was awarded life term by Allahabad High Court in a mass-murder case.

Last week, CM Yogi Adityanath was in Chitrakoot, adjacent to the flood affected villages, and took a ride on a newly put up rope-way. He also visited temples there and offered prayers. He left after telling people that their future was bright.

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