‘Should’ve Drowned’: Flood-Affected Residents Ahead of Bihar Polls

In flood-hit Sahebganj in Bihar, residents say they have been left homeless, with no food, no jobs, and no money.

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Homeless and forced to take to the streets for shelter, the people of Muzaffarpur have been left battered by the recent floods. Residents allege, hardly any measures have been taken by the government or the local administration to provide them any relief.

Ahead of Bihar Assembly elections, The Quint visited flood-hit Sahebganj in Muzaffarpur to gauge the situation post floods, the relief work by the government, and the sentiments of locals.

"We somehow managed to escape the floods but now we have no jobs, no money, no food. Had to take loans to buy food and water but how will we repay the loans? We should have rather died in the floods," said Rampati Devi, a resident of Sahebganj.

“We had some grains at home but all that got washed away. We have no food to feed the children, no fodder for the cattle. The children are surviving on leftovers. Nobody is ready to give me more loan to buy food till I repay the earlier loan.”
Savita Devi, Flood-Affected Resident of Sahebganj

Government's Claim #1: 'Community Kitchens Providing Food to Needy'

Reality: Community Kitchens Ran for 3-4 Days Only

The state government had assured that the community kitchen would be set up in all wards across the flood-hit districts to ensure no one was hungry. At least 271 community kitchens were reportedly being operated to feed more than one lakh flood-affected people.

When The Quint spoke to the people, this is what they said:

They only ran community kitchens for three days and then stopped after that. It was supposed to run for longer but was only organised for three days.”
Ayodhya Ram, Ward Member, Paroo

Badan Sahni, Head of Usti Panchayat in Sahebganj, said they stopped receiving ration from the block after the initial few days, so they were forced to stop the community kitchens in all wards. "We have no clue why they stopped providing ration. The community kitchen ran for close to 10 days. It ran for seven days in ward 2 and for four days in wards 5 and 6. After that, we stopped receiving ration, what could we do?" Sahni added.

Government's Claim #2: 'Rs 6,000 as Relief for All Flood-Affected Families'

Reality: Several Names Missing From the List

Bihar government had assured of disbursing gratuitous relief of Rs 6,000 each to every flood-affected family in the state.

When The Quint spoke to people in Sahebganj, they said hundreds of names were missing from the list of beneficiaries and didn't receive the money.

"We got no money. The village head told us that our names are not on the list, so we would not receive the money. We got no aid from the government. How much hunger can we bear?" asked Rampati Devi.

“620 names were removed from the list. I have written to the CO asking for a reason. CO is still probing the matter. I am yet to get a response.”
Voice of Badan Sahni, Head, Usti Panchayat, Sahebganj

"I submitted the list after adding all names. I wrote to the Panchayat too. But don't know why the names were removed from the Block's list," said Ayodhya Ram, a ward member from Paroo.

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