The basti of Bhanwartola comes under Sinduwari ward (15/16) of Shahpur Panchayat ,Gwalpada block in the district of Madhepura,Bihar. This settlement of around 400 households resides now beside the canal embankment.These people lost everything during the Kosi flood of 2008 and were residing on the embankment for almost two years before their houses could be built, hand pumps installed, buildings repaired.
There has been noticeable change from almost a year back when we were here.At the beginning of east canal embankment, we saw construction work going on the culvert and sluice gates being worked on and replaced. After driving a few kilometers on the embankment we reached Bhanwartola.
The first thing one noticed was that the school building was repaired almost new and about 40- 50 children were having mid day meals in the courtyard. It was a heartening sight..this place is really in the interiors, difficult to reach and it was nice to see Government agencies working here.
The region is still overwhelmingly covered with sand carried by the flood waters,but sparse vegetation has started dotting the landscape. Some farmers here are trying to grow vegetables, mainly ‘Parval’ as that’s suited to this new soil layer. Earlier,the farmers predominantly grew food grains & the yield was nice. They hope a good year of rainfall will slowly bind the soil together & better options for farming will be available. Incidentally, after the floods,rainfall has been scarce in this region
We had been in touch with the ward member Mr.Upendra and he had prepared a list of beneficiaries who needed the blankets most. They were mostly old people, masomaat or widows and people from poorest section of this basti.These people were earlier given a stamped piece of paper bearing their name/representatives name which they submitted to us after they received the blanket.
In all, around 200 blankets ,400 odd set of clothes & 100 set of woolens including shawls, woolen sheets, bed sheets, winter caps, scarves etc for for women & children were given out to the beneficiaries. We had carefully marked & packed each dress set separately for different age groups. We distributed the relief materials to everyone who was there at the site.
Acknowledgment in the form of thumb impression/signature were received on the beneficiaries list.
This effort could be carried out because of people like Ms Bhawna Agrawal(Tempe,AZ) who sent us funds for 150 blankets and by members of our group namely Saroj, Agnivesh & Sunil Singh (US),Divyanshu Ji ,Dilip Ji & Ashok sharma(Bangalore), Anand Guneshwar (Gandhinagar) & Vivek (Singapore). The details are at this link http://bit.ly/gBgWjI
I would specially like to thank Bhawna Ji for taking the initiative and contacting me and offering to help with purchase of blankets for these people, to Ashok for always being there to help and to Amitesh Ji from Prayaas for all the help he has been providing for this initiative for the last three years.