This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
Seri Struggles to Survive
Seri is a small hamlet situated about 30 km away from world famous place Katra of hilly district Reasi of Jammu and Kashmir. It is adjoined with a historical village Dera Baba Banda Bahadur of Reasi and is constituted of 35 houses. All the families are totally dependent on agriculture. This village is situated in between the Chenab River and steep hills while on another side of the village the holy Ban Ganga river flows. Although this village is situated between the two rivers but still the agriculture of this village is totally rain fed. Before last year flood and land sliding havoc the inhabitants of this village were living a normal life. On 5th and 6th September, 2014 fury of flash floods and land sliding ruined the village and all the families in the village were badly affected by the natural catastrophe. Last year land sliding and flash floods havoc swept away their lands, houses, animals, crops, household commodities etc. Some persons in the village were having mules and horses which were the source of employment but they lost them in this disaster. On that unfortunate day the inhabitants of this village were struggling for their lives between the Chenab River on one side and steep hills on another side. Fast flowing Ban Ganga was the third factor which was ready to sweep them away. The people of this area never thought that these lush green hills, lovely Chenab River and holy Ban Ganga will one day snatch away everything they are having. On that deadly day they were praying to the Almighty to save their lives. Within minutes the steep hills slided towards their homes and washed away their homes with rest of their household commodities which were made by them through their hard earned money. Everywhere there was debris and water and their lands were also covered by the debris and water. The Chenab River water came towards their homes with a speed and they were trapped there. When they were moving towards the hills there was life taking land sliding and when they were going towards the Chenab River, it was ready to drown them. When they were moving backward the Ban Ganga River was ready to sweep them away. The water of Pakhi Nala was another risk factor for them. The villagers were unable to cross it. They were trapped from every side of the village. Then in the evening on 6th of September, 2014 some persons from Dera Baba assisted them to escape from their village. With their strenuous efforts and blessings of God they escape from death on that day but they lost everything in the land sliding and floods other than their life. The people of this area didn’t get chance even to save their clothes to wear and all their belongings came under millions of tons of debris within few minutes. There was lack of phone connectivity and road connectivity on that day and they were hardly in touch with the people from outside. They were communicating to the Almighty for their lives. This has happened in many villages of Jammu and Kashmir.
Presently these villagers are living their unsettled life. Every times they look at their damaged homes they are filled with grief and remorse. They still have the trauma of that day i.e.6th September, 2014. They have lost the source of employment as many of them have lost their land and animals due to flash flood and land sliding and also they have lost their horses/mules which were a source of income when they work at the Vaishno Devi Shrine at Katra. A walk through the villages reveals the full picture of last year catastrophe that shattered their dreams and put their future generations in doldrums. Krishi Vigyan Kendra situated in the village too lost its lot of fertile land and crops. Lot of farm produce in the KVK was also lost due to the flood fury of last year. The whole KVK was submerged in flood water.
Both government and non-governmental organizations supported these unfortunate people but they have immense task in hand to rebuild the affected village. So far both government and non-Government organizations supported excellently to these people and have done a commendable job to do the herculean task. The availability of electricity, water and road problems have been restored. Drinking water has still contamination and it has become a major cause for many water borne diseases. The clean drinking water is the need of the hour in this affected village. Many NGOs should come forward to provide clean water to the affected villages. This initiative would definitely be appreciated by the affected villagers. As there is no medical dispensary in the village a dispensary is needed for free medical treatment of the affected people.
The poor people of these villages are badly affected by the last year land sliding and floods havoc. Their small iron sheets houses which are very close to the hills and the Chenab River were badly damaged. Temporary shelters are made by the government in the village but there is need of permanent residential as the winters are approaching. Many NGOs and governmental organizations have provided them eatable commodities along with clothes, tents and stoves. As the winters are fastly approaching so there is need to make some Pucca houses but so far that is in the planning. The inhabitants of the village are worried about their permanent shelters. It is the opinion of many affected people that if the government resettles them away from their damaged houses that will ensure their safety but affect their livelihoods. They want that Government should assist them in the removal of debris in their fields which inhibits the crop production. They want to restart the agriculture in their affected land. The NGOs and the Vaishnodevi Shrine Board should also come forward in resettlement process. The villages’ leaders should be consulted to identify the suitable locations for construction of new houses. The agencies are in process to obtain the land at safe place but so far that has not been finalized. According to the Naib Sarpanch Sh.Girdhari Lal there is dire need to lift the debris from the village and also the people should be permanently settled as soon as possible. Last year they lost their crops but they didn’t get the crop compensation. According to the local people there is need to rebuild their village as soon as possible so that they can streamline their lives. They want the permanent settlement in the nearby area so that they can take care of their land and do the farming.
After land sliding and flood havoc lot of Government and Non-Government Organizations visited this spot. The media also reached there but the ill-fated place was not highlighted as it should be. Last year District Administration, Rajya Sabha MP, Sh.Gulam Nabi Azad, ex-MLA Sh.Baldev Sharma, high level monitoring team from Delhi etc. visited this spot and listened the grievances of the local people. People were morally boosted by them and assured for their welfare as soon as possible. The district administration through their rigorous efforts made temporary shelters for them in a stipulated time and assisted them financially. Basic edible and other needful commodities were provided to them. But still there is lot to do for the inhabitants of this village.
The land sliding and floods have also badly affected the agriculture sector. Maize is the major crop for the people of hilly areas which is water sensitive was badly damaged due to water logging in last year fury. There is need of agricultural support to these people. This catastrophe really have affected on the livelihood of the people which is mainly based on agriculture. Due to land sliding and water logging their land fertility and shape have been changed. There is emergent need to lift the garbage from their fields to restart the agriculture. Now these affected families elders are worrying about the future of their children. So the farming sector should also be considered seriously by the government. The agencies should not waste the time to mitigate the problems of the affected families. The affected people of the area are really been shattered. They want the sustainable development in the village.