Flood victims in Bihar express anger over lack of relief

Patnap: Flood victims on Monday held demonstrations across Bihar, expressing anger and impatience over the quality and quantity of government aid that has so far been provided to them. With over one million people affected by floods and the situation remaining grim, district officials, particularly block development officers and circle officers, are facing the fury of victims complaining about inadequate relief supplies. Hundreds of flood victims protested against the circle officer of Raghopur in Vaishali district, demanding adequate relief and compensation. Raghopur is not far from Patna and is represented by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Prasad Yadav in the state assembly. Raghopur is considered stronghold of Tejaswi's father and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad. Earlier, former chief minister and wife of Lalu Prasad, Rabri Devi, also represented Raghopur in the state assembly. Angry over lack of relief, the flood-hit people in Nathnagar in Bhagalpur district staged a protest demanding adequate relief and compensation. In Begusarai district, flood victims blocked roads for hours demanding adequate relief. Similar reports are coming from other flood-affected districts like Patna, Samastipur, Bhojpur, Khagaria and Aurangabad. "At some places, flood victims blocked roads to protest against inadequate relief," an official of disaster management department said. Hungry and homeless, the people also expressed anger over not being provided fodder for their cattle. Ganga and other major rivers have submerged vast swathes of the state, forcing thousands from their homes. The disaster has so far claimed 14 lives, including nine in Bhojpur district alone. An official of the disaster management department said: "Rivers flowing above the danger mark are posing threat to the low-lying areas." Over a dozen teams of the National Disaster Response Force and the State Disaster Response Force have been deployed in the flood-hit districts. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered cancellation of leave of police, administrative officials and engineers. Nitish Kumar also directed officials to speed up rescue and relief operations in the flood-affected areas. He asked the health department to arrange for medicines and DDT sprays to check outbreak of diseases once the floodwaters receded. Officials said standing crops worth crores of rupees have been damaged and road communications at several places have been flooded.