- Faisal Muhammad Ali
- BBC Correspondent, Belagote (Supaul), Bihar
In just 48 hours, dozens of Belagote houses, a wide unpaved road and hundreds of adjacent bamboo trees, were submerged in Kosi, as well as the school where the village from one to the other. The children studied up to the fifth grade. .
There was an atmosphere of strange chaos at Belagote (on the first Saturday of August), about seven to eight kilometers from Supaul town.
The river reached the roadside with boats, platforms attached to banana trees, and sometimes men, women, and children carrying goats, goods, chickens, and huts on their heads.
People cutting down bamboo and other trees with axes and scythes, pulling them with ropes after they fell, to transport them to a dry place.
Yadunandan, who had erected ‘huts’ three times earlier in different places in the village, will settle for the fourth time in the ‘son-in-law’s house’ due to lack of space, destroying his house.
kosi stream flow
The place where the furniture of their house is being loaded into a wooden boat, until yesterday there was a primary school in Belagote.
Dilkhush Kumar once studied in this school, now a boy who has passed the seventh standard “he loves to read English”, and he also recites a poem in English for us.
Kailash Paswan, the teacher on hand to move the remains of the school’s pantry, says that for now the children are staying with relatives, if they arrange to stay here and there is a place higher. for school If you go, you’ll read here: “If you don’t go, what can you say?”
The villages he describes as the school’s “nourishment zone”, meaning where the children used to attend primary school, were all surrounded by water, while the flow of the Kosi stream was becoming more serious by the minute.
pumping machine in ships
Maybe that’s why most of the schools in this area, except for the ones on the side of the paved road, are made of bamboo or sackcloth like most of the houses here. In some floors or pillars are built.
During a two-day visit to Kosi, we saw people from villages submerged in water or in erosion zones, demolishing these schools with hammers.
It is during our presence in Belagote that it begins to rain heavily, so that people somehow find themselves under half-erected and half-destroyed huts.
On the second day we leave by Lakkar boat to further inland areas of the embankment.
Motor boating of wooden boats prepared by installing pumping machines on the boats is the main means of transportation in these areas.
There was a lot of hope from the Kosi project
The Kosi River, which reaches India through Tibet and Nepal, is surrounded by treaty embankments, then there are also small dams. Shacks were also built on the river.
When the foundation stone of the Kosi River project was laid in the 1950s, it was said to bring prosperity to the region.
But the river, which carries with it millions of tons of mud and stones and pebbles, continues to change its course every few years and the villages on the embankment are forced to devastate every two years.
Due to the construction of the dam, more than 300 villages of Bihar had gone into the submergence zone. However, the resettlement works were not fully completed and thousands of people still live in the inner areas of the embankment.
With us on the boat, going home on vacation: Vikas and his younger brother, Rupesh. Both Mana Tola, far from their village, study alone in the city of Supaul.
Vikas and Rupesh Story
Vikas Kumar, who studies in class IX, says that as the two brothers live together in the city, the food also has to be prepared by themselves.
Vikas, who wants to become an IPS, says, “If you do something away from your parents, if you become something, then your name will shine.”
Rupesh studies in the 5th grade, but in the city “he misses his mother a lot”.
Mother Sita Devi works hard in Punjab to help her husband do small jobs so that somehow the children can have a better future. Other children are not as lucky as Vikas and Rupesh.
‘Koi books kaupi (copy) lakar na dei chhai, ta sab bisar geleiye’ (If a book doesn’t carry a copy, everyone has forgotten), a very cheerful and cheerful boy tells us.
Some of the other children and youths who herded buffalo with him left the school 10 years ago, because the school was not open, and someone else said that the massab did not come.
Santosh Mukhiya also complains to us about the non-opening of the school: “Teachers come 10 or 15 days in six months, around the time when salary distribution day approaches, or August 15 and January 26, when the flag is to be raised.”
However, we were not surprised to see the lock of Khokhnaha Got Primary School as it was a Sunday.
People complained to us about the non-opening of schools in most towns. He also said to “do something about it.”
school trip due to flood
Professor Sajal Kumar Das explains that when there is a flood or a village is eroded, people take the school hut along with the rest, which is erected on a higher place.
However, teacher vigilance was very important in this matter as the two primary school teachers were present while the Belagote school was being moved.
However, he did not know exactly where to find a place for the school. Getting land is not that easy either.
In the middle of the boat trip, we found Mohammed Maroof, who had moved home from another village, standing in a patch of muddy grass just below his knees.
They began to say: “Pegs have been buried, and poles have been mounted on the pole, because there is mud underneath, let’s see what will happen next, a way will have to be found because how many days can it stay like this.”
Mahendra Yadav of Kosi Navnirman Manch, a voluntary organisation, says: “They had their villages, they had farms, we imprisoned them in the middle of the river by building embankments on both sides. Their basic issues are education, health, displacement, etc. rehabilitation, development. The issue is secondary in current politics.”
Kosi Navnirman Manch runs eight training centers in this area, which they call ‘Jeevanshala’, in which training is imparted along with education and other things and also strives to make people aware of their rights.
Although many teachers and trainers serving in these Jeevanshalas are looking for jobs and if this happens, they will obviously leave, but for students who want to study in Kosi region, this seems to be a strong ray of hope for now. .