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Erstwhile enclave dwellers still living without electricity, potable water and road connectivity, devoid of electricity, potable water and road connectivity from 1947 – IMPUNITY

Kirity Roy MASUM

Kirity Roy

The Chairman
National Human Rights Commission
Manav Adhikar Bhawan,, Block-C, GPO Complex, INA,
New Delhi-110023

Respected Sir,

Here I want to draw your kind attention on continuity of apathy towards the erstwhile enclave dwellers by the Governments of India and West Bengal. From the independence to till date they are devoid with citizenry guarantees and deliverance.

I am writing you with deep concern that the dwellers of erstwhile Bangladeshi enclave of Karola are living with great disappointment and hopelessness as there has been no development works even after one year of Land Boundary Agreement was enacted. The residents of Karola in Dinhata block under Dinhata subdivision of Cooch Behar district in West Bengal are struggling for basic amenities like electricity, potable water and road connectivity. Roads, electricity and water supply are the lifeline of any village and town. Karola village have neither. In the absence of concrete roads, these villages are disconnected from the rest of the state. Further, absence of electricity is hampering the agricultural activities of the populace.

The villagers live on agriculture and their economical condition is not well. All families at Karola village are deprived of electricity as they have not been given power connection yet and its people are forced to live life in the dark. So it is a difficult situation for them. The government must, should and can fulfill under government scheme, especially when families living in neighboring villages (not erstwhile enclaves) have electric connection.

Homes in  this village  are lit with smoky kerosene lamps that give faint light, in which the children have to study and other activities have to be carried out, a situation that harks back to the time of independence. The villagers complained during interaction with MASUM team that there is a shortage of supply of Kerosene oil at the villages. When the dwellers cannot get Kerosene oil for their household, then children cannot study at night. No electric poles have been set up. As a result, it is difficult to navigate through the roads at night. There is apprehension of some major accident taking place, because the traffic i.e. bullock cart, cycle, van rickshaw, motor cycle, motorized van etc passes over this earthen roads round the clock, in addition cases of thefts and robbery can also not be denied.

Health care facilities are located several kilometers away from the village. While interacting with villagers, they confirmed that their villages neither have transport facility nor communication network. As a result, ambulance cannot reach the village. In case of emergencies, caregivers carry the patient on their shoulders in a cot. Crossing strenuous paths to reach hospitals located at the town far from this village adds to the gravity of the medical crises. The situation gets worse when heavy downpour is on strike.

On 17.06.2016, dwellers of these erstwhile enclaves made a written memorandum before the office of the District Magistrate stating their problems but the complaint has failed to evoke any response from higher ups and the villagers is still devoid of basic amenities. Even, despite repeated pleas to the district administration to provide them with basic amenities, pretended ignorance about their woes from government side is still persisted. I am appending the list of the signatories of this memorandum.

Perhaps it can be attributed to apathy of the government and its officials. At the time of Land Boundary Agreement it was decided that the central and state; both the governments would work together towards the development of the erstwhile enclaves but they did nothing for the erstwhile enclave dwellers through the year.

I wish to submit this complaint to your good office for urgent resolve the issue in a just manner and appending a list of signatories of memorandum herewith.

In this regard, I want to place following demands:

Ø  The government of India as well as state government through district administration, must entrust with the responsibility to provide all basic amenities to the erstwhile enclave dwellers  i.e. concrete road connectivity, electricity, portable water etc. at the earliest.

Ø  The government should draw a plan for all round development of these erstwhile enclaves and its dwellers with active participation of erstwhile enclave dwellers. In this regard; set up schools, set up health care facilities, improve of transport system, irrigation system for agriculture etc. The development works being implemented in these villages should be monitored on a regular basis.

Ø  The local administration alongwith state electricity department should initiate all necessary steps to ensure power connection to all household of these villages and street light facility on village roads must be provided.

Ø  Portable water supply should be ensured for the villagers

Ø  Voter cards which were issued previously for married women mentioning their father name as guardian should be reissued with their husband’s name; which is a practice throughout the country.

Thanking you,
Yours sincerely

(Kirity Roy)
Secretary- MASUM
National Convener- PACTI

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