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Our Bureau /
Modi government reportedly given serious concern over the rising tentacles of the Maoists especially at states like Chhattisgarh. In wake of Sukma incident recently, the central government after consulting with the concerned diplomates and experts of internal security concerned, may introduce ‘surgical strike’ against the red ultras.
“Gher kar maro…” (Killed them while encircling …..) is the common voice that reportedly getting ground in the lobby of the policy makers. But it’s a vital question that if the government would adopt such type of strategy to root out the left extremists, what would be the final outcome particularly at Eastern Bihar’s disturbed areas. We already have given some stories, tried to depict the hard realities there. In the final conclusion today we are giving another such copy inside from the most ‘dangerous’ Bhimband wildlife sanctuary. We left our readers to judge the situation : –
Lives of residents inside Bhimbandh forest covers : an unique story to tell the world
Inside Bhimbandh forest (Munger): Jitni Devi (59) Promod Koda (26) and many residents of remote villages inside Bhimbandh wildlife sanctuary alleged their fates for the pitiable conditions of their kids.
Puja (14) a resident of Bhimbandh Basti, a hamlet some 2.5 km away from Sonarba has lost the opportunity to continue her study after passing class V in a government primary school at her village. Puja doesn’t has the opportunity for continuing her study because her school is only up to class V and there is not a single school within the radius of 12 Km from her village to serve the purpose of Puja. “How could I continue my further study I would have to cover the distance under utter insecurity, also my parents would not allow me for this,” she said.
Her sister in-law, Budhani (20) who got married with Puja’s brother in 2012 doesn’t want to become a mother just because she is worried about the future of her child. Budhani who hails from a village under Banka district, logically put her points : “why should I put a child in trouble in such a place which is not ideal for living. If my husband would migrate somewhere else, we would than decided about child”.
Girls like Puja does not has any idea about sanitary napkins rather wild leaves, grass or old clothe are the substitute for the adolescents girls for their particular days in a month.
Located inside picturesque location surrounded by majestic Haveli Kharaghpur range of mountains and deep forest covers, Bhimbandh once remained an ideal tourist destination in Bihar where people liked to venture mainly due to the hot springs and the rampant wildness of the Nature. Sonarba residents who witnessed the infamous killing of former superintendent of police, Munger K C Surendar Babu on 2005 by a powerful landmine explosion triggered by the Maoists, however heaved a sigh of relief with the opening of the camp of CRPF’s 131 battalion in June 2013 at Bhimbandh Basti (locality), some 2.5 km away from Sonarba. “We had to face the wrath of the rebels and police brutalities simultaneously, now things have changed with CRPF’s camp. But poverty, lack of employment opportunity, health hazards, lack of agriculture opportunity in absence of irrigation yet not have any remedy,” pointed out Josodha Devi (50), wife of one Congress Koda.
Pointing towards a group of half-naked children she said : “ I had witnessed my own children in the same state, now it’s the time of my grandchildren”. She is worried about her 6 year-old grandson, Dipak Koda who according to her develops swelling in his body.
35 households mostly Koda, a tribal community in Sonarba hamlet inside the forest has to depend on two tube wells, which are dried in summer and villagers have to walk more than 2 km to fetch water from Adwaria Joria, a stream comes out from nearby Haveli Kharaghpur range of hills. But most of the villagers hold the water responsible for the health conditions of their kids. “Look how swelling has affected the throat of my daughter, it is due to water,” Bahadur Koda pointed towards his 8 year-old daughter, Rupa Kumari.
It is not the children but resident of this sleepy hamlet also are the victims of such disorders. Dukhani Devi (50) said villagers have to walk to nearby Lakshmipur, some 9 Km for doctors. Many homemakers in the hamlet complained that their wards do not get polio drop regularly. And it is same with mid-day meal in local primary school. The hamlet does not have any Anganwari center. “The CRPF men sometime distributed medicines here. Since we don’t have proper foods daily, it’s very difficult for us to visit the doctors at Lakshmipur,” said Mahadev Koda. Residents in the hamlet depends on the forest woods and forest products like Mahua for their livelihoods. “ Presently we don’t have any doctor in this camp but we tried to do our level best for the villagers,” said P Pradeep Kumar, company commandant of 131 battalion of CRPF.
Bhimbandh situated in Munger district, is considered as a safe bastion of Maoists. Security forces claimed to have liberated it after setting up a CRPF camp inside the forest in 2013. But till date the red ultras rule the roost at Bhimbandh as their safe red corridor which connects inaccessible parts of Jamui, Lakhisarai districts as well as connects a safe passage to neighbouring Naxal effected Giridhi in Jharkhand. A sizable population in small hamlets inside the vicinity of Bhimbandh have to face the wrath, both from the rebels’ side and also from the side of the security personnel.
“We reopened the primary school at Bhimbandh Basti soon we established our camp,” proudly claimed Kumar. But there is no change. “Earlier the children had to witness the gun toting outfits and now they have to attain their classes in the school under the tight security covers by the armed carrying CRPF personnel,” pointed out Sambhu Koda, a resident here.
Crores of rupees have been drain out by central government in Naxal infected areas like Bhimbandh under special funds for Naxal infected areas but nothing has changed the life style of people who still compelled to live in medieval era. The areas presents a classic example of failure of tall claims by the policy makers as well as the so claimed pro-poor friendly attitude of Maoists in their strong holds. Finally the children and the women became the worst suffers in the areas.
Dr. Yogendra, a RMP at Lakhmipur said malnutrition and water born disease are the two factors which has its adverse impact on the childhoods in the region. While doctors at Haveli Kharaghpur PHC on condition of anonymity said that due to rebels’ fear medical team hardly dare to enter inside Bhimbandh areas.
Survival of adolescent, reproductive and maternal health in areas of red influence in places like Sonarba in Eastern Bihar is under the scanner of National Foundation for India (NFI), a New Delhi based charitable trust. NFI which along with Save the Children has conducted a survey in this region recently, said that in absence of development and failure of the government machineries to address the plights of the rural mass in hamlets inside this sanctury has gifted many adverse impact particularly to children. The report said that the conditions of the children not only at Sonarba but also in Choukia, Adbaria, Tataria, Jamuniatard, Chormara, Pasraha, Gurmaha etc inside the sanctuary are alarming mainly due to malnutrition and health problems. On the pretexts of rebels fear, administration literary lying defunct in such areas, it added. “The movements of security personnel is only activity from the government side in that areas, except the security personnel not a single government staff hardly dare to enter in the villages there,” said a top ranking civil official at Munger on condition of anonymity.
Sources from the office of civil surgeon Munger expressed complete ignorance when asked about the health related problems inside Bhimbandh areas. “We don’t have such any information but I will ask the concerned in-charge of that areas to look the matter,” the sources said. A top ranking cop claimed that police time to time with the help of district administration organized “Sarkar aapki dawar” programmes in the localities but due to topographical inaccessibility, one could expect much success.
Public representatives particularly MLA from Tarapur assembly segment under whose jurisdiction the areas falls, never visited any such villages like Sonarba nor he has any idea about the plights and miseries of the inhabitants there. Bollowood actor turned politician, Chirag Paswan who is the MP of Jamui Lok Sabha seat also hardly has any idea about the villages inside Bhimbandh wildlife sanctuaries which is falling under his constituency. “ We are very unfortunate as not a single person including the leaders use to visit us,” sadly said Binod Koda, a middle age resident inside the forest cover.