On call from the field, I could not resist myself and made an emergent visit to Saharsa from 24-27 September 2008. Dr. Manoj K Jha, Director, Field Work also joined me to facilitate the whole process. Since the purpose of the visit was to apprise myself with ground realities of the field and our intervention programmes, I focused my trip on base camp management, field oriented activities, consolidation of our efforts and expanding out networks and alliances.
About 6-7 lakh people were found living in the temporary hutments on the either side of the Kataiya to Murliganj embankment. It is unfortunate to state that the state intervention is completely missing and people are deprived of even basic amenities like drinking water, food and sanitation. Some of the displaced villagers are going back to their villages to fetch drinking water from hand pumps (which are also contaminated) whereas others are using canal water for drinking and other domestic purposes. The State-organised Mega Camps do provide food to villagers but these camps are distantly located and most of the affected people are not able to reach these camps. Further the food availability is never assured and had no fixed time.
In my presence, I saw our volunteers intervening to save a damaged bridge which was likely to collapse due to heavy traffic. The bridge known as Pucca Pul was the only connection between Madhepura and Muraliganj and hence it was overloaded and jammed. Our volunteers intervened at the right time to control and regulate the traffic thereby saving another mishap to happen. Till the time Mr Dharmendra Prasad, SDO, Madhepura reached and took charge our volunteers played a very significant role by acting aptly according to the need of the situation.
I would also like to put it on record the help and support extended by Mr Sanjay Jha, Mr Chandan and Mr Santosh to our team. Without their support it would have been really a difficult task for us. Finally, I would like to congratulate all the students who are working day and night to support this programme. Their efforts are greatly been acknowledged in the field by everyone.