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UP: Hundreds of Houses in Gorakhpur, Sitapur, Lakhimpur Submerge Due to Flood, Many Forced to Seek Shelter

The farmers in flood-affected areas say that the erosion first caused damage to agricultural land and is now threatening their homestead land.
UP: Hundreds of Houses in Gorakhpur, Sitapur, Lakhimpur Submerge Due to Flood

Image Courtesy: Business Standard

Lucknow: Over a hundred houses in Jagdishpur village near the Rapti river in Uttar Pradesh's Gorakhpur district have submerged due to the floods, which has forced many families to take shelter elsewhere, as per reports.

Jagdishpur has around 125 households, out of which 105 houses have submerged in the fast flow of Rapti river in the past 10 years. The erosion by rivers over the years is threatening the existence of the rest of the houses and adjoining villages, with the river stream just remaining 10 to 15 metres away from these houses.

The villagers claimed that the administration officials and leaders have visited the village as a "picnic spot" several times, but did not initiate any concrete steps to save the village and their lives in the last 10 years. They alleged that if the administration had discharged their responsibilities, the existence of their village would not have been in danger. 

"Ten years is not a small period, 105 houses one by one in a Jagdishpur village alone submerged in front of my eyes. Who will take the responsibility of this gross negligence?" Santosh Bharti, a resident of the village told NewsClick. He added that they were once big farmers but river erosion has made them landless and due to "government policies", they have now been reduced to migrant labourers.

Bharti said that the district administration has once again asked the villagers to vacate the village and take shelter elsewhere. "The administration used to say that efforts are being made to save the village and sometimes they would claim that the people would be settled elsewhere. The whole village was destroyed in the process of saving and settling," Bharti further stated.

Ramashray, a migrant worker whose house is near Ghaghara river in Bahraich district, said, “We have taken shelter twice in different places in ten years and are now forced to again shift somewhere else due to flood and government failure."

The farmers in flood-affected areas say that the erosion first caused damage to agricultural land and is now threatening their homestead land. “We have shifted our house twice already. Poverty and living like nomads has now become part of our life,” Satendra, another villager of Barabanki which is facing a similar problem, told NewsClick.

He went on to add, "I bought small pieces of land for agriculture purposes four years back with my hard-earned money but the river swallowed the land."

Barabanki, Sitapur and Bahraich district are facing the same problem, where Sarayu and Ghaghara river have caused extensive damage over the years. Erosion has led to sharp migration because of shrinking arable land. About 70% to 80% people migrate to other states like Punjab, Delhi, Haryana and Maharashtra for their livelihood, according to activists working on the ground.

Richa Singh, a social activist based in Sitapur, told NewsClick, "The water level of Sharda and Ghaghra rivers is causing damage to at least 42 villages. At least five houses were submerged on Sunday (June 20) in Faujdar Purwa of  Reusa block, five family members of the village migrated for a safer place on the same day." She added that she had started 'jal satyagraha' in 2013 but neither the then Akhilesh government nor the current Bharatiya Janata Party government worked much for the villagers living near the rivers.

Meanwhile, at present, 22 villages in districts like Bahraich, Balrampur, Gorakhpur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Kushinagar, Maharajganj, Pilibhit, Shravasti, Sitapur, Barabanki and Siddharthnagar are affected by the overflowing river water.

“The state government is fully alert to prevent the damage caused by the floods and 10 teams of NDRF have been deployed,” relief commissioner Ranvir Prasad said in media briefing, adding that 22 villages in these 10 districts were marooned

According to villagers in Bahraich, over 60 villages of the district have been inundated following the release of water by Nepal from its three barrages into rivers, a district administration official said on Sunday.

According to information released by the Flood Management Information System Centre (FMISC), the Ganga at Kachhala Ghat in Badaun and in Ballia are also flowing at the danger mark. Furthermore, the Rapti river at Rapti barrage in Shravasti, Gorakhpur and in Balrampur district is also flowing above the danger mark.

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