Days before election, polling booth of Left stronghold Ara village remains inundated with canal water

The fourth phase of polling is four days to go but the villagers of Terari Assembly constituency in Ara district, considered to be a stronghold of the radical communist CPI-ML (Liberation), are not sure if they would be able to cast their votes as the polling booths in the Government School remain inundated with canal water for months.

Tarari (Ara) Bihar, 24 October, 2015: The fourth phase of polling is four days to go but the villagers of Terari Assembly constituency in Ara district, considered to be a stronghold of the radical communist CPI-ML (Liberation), are not sure if they would be able to cast their votes as the polling booths in the Government School remain inundated with canal water for months.

“Radio and TV are making announcement that voters should cast their votes. But how will we, particularly our women, reach the polling booths when the venue is flooded?” wondered Birendra Paswan from Ramnagar village in Tarari block in Ara district that goes to polls on 28 October in the third phase of the ongoing Bihar elections.

The polling booth no. 108 in the Government school is earmarked for over a thousand voters from two villages, Ramnagar and Gangoti, said the villagers.

The main cause of water logging in the school is its location in a low-lying area. As per the estimation of villagers, the ground level of the school needs to be raised upto 3 to 4 feet to address the problem of water logging.

“Whenever there is rain or water is released in the canal, the school gets flooded,” said Visal Kumar from Ramnagar village, who is a student of Intermediate (Science).

While the villagers have repeatedly made complaints about the problem to the Block Development Officer (BDO) and the village head (mukhia), they have so far not taken any action.

“BDO and mukhia are passing the buck to each other,” rued Paswan.

Apart from the issue of polling, the water-logging at school has also affected studies.

Like Paswan’s three children, hundreds of other children from nearby villages have missed their classes for a long time due to the water-logging problem faced by the school.

“Only a small number of tall students are somehow able to cross water and go to school, the rest, particularly younger ones, are unable to wade through the water,” added Vikas.

Apart from the elections and education, health is also negatively affected by the problem of water logging.

(First published in Milli Gazette)

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