Patna, the capital of Bihar is considered as one of the oldest city of the planet. The city has a powerful history, which started from the defeat of Alexander the great, to become a deciding political part of the country. Patna is situated on the banks of river Ganges. Diara, situated on either side of the Ganges’ is only two kilometres from city area of DighaGhat. But the story of both the sides is extremely different.
The city area is shiny and having a modern lifestyle while Diara is result of government’s negligence. It is easy to feel the differences when you climb into a boat from other side of Diara to another (a piece of land between rivers Holy Ganges). Surprisingly, one half area of Diara belongs to Patna District and rest under Saran District. But none of these districts are concerned with this island. There is only one police station in entire Diara being run by Patna’s authorities, even in the Saran part. This piece of land is inhabited by a population of 1.25 lakh. After almost seven decades of independence, there are no basic amenities, i.e. the significant absence of electricity has taken Diara decades backwards. It feels like a ‘British Raj’ scenario. There is no high school for this huge population. The worst situation is about its medical facilities, as the government has created only one hospital. As per the local citizens, no doctors are ready to join this palace. They have same excuse of transport connectivity as the water ways are always dangerous for a span of six months in a year. And there is no question to reside at Diara, it is not at all acceptable by many government employees. In situations of medical emergencies, they have no way than opting to cross Ganges even at midnight. Most of the time this leads to the loss of life. Development and basic facilities are “DuzKa Chand” for Diara people.
Pramod Kumar Singh, a villager from Akilpur Diara said “inspite of the short distance from the capital city Patna (only two km), we are far away from the word Development. Basic amenities are a dream for us; we are nothing but vote banks. Floods are a recurring phenomenon, every two years and the situation gets worst. Each flood drags us away to an infantile stage of development and we have to start from the beginning”.
At Diara, agriculture and animal husbandry is the main livelihood for people, and both are highly victimized by the floods, making people suffer. Although, the land in Diara is highly fertile, the lack of connectivity and agricultural facilities especially like electricity make it futile. There are no other opportunities for employment, because people have to either go to Patna city or the nearby districts and that is life threatening, especially in the monsoon. After the floods, the situation becomes worse. People don’t have any other option for earning their livelihood than migrating to other states for more money. As Mr. Singh mentions that “we don’t want to migrate to other states for employment. We get threatened under the label ‘Bihari,’ but it is for the family and mostly nature that compels us to tolerate and hope for a bright future”.
Another lady from Dudhia Village of Akilpur Panchayat, Chandrakanta Devi said “Dahar (Flood) from Ganga Mai destroys everything, i.e. our crops, houses, many times livestock because of after-flood diseases. After the flood, epidemics are more dangerous for their survival. The Government’s reach towards Diara is in the form of an empty hospital structure; no medical services have been started here. Policies are made excluding us. When we reach the cities, it is a dreamland”
There is no way to stop the anger of the Ganges. The force of the water is more powerful than the government structures. It must be tackled logically. Only allocating funds can’t bring changes. Government must reach the unreached areas in order to hear them. They have been voiceless from decades. Some new initiatives are instantly required for Diara, at least effective and efficient flood relief that can help them avoid the loss of property and life significantly. Continued efforts are needed to better the situation. Shining India here is only just looking for basic amenities.