Call for NGO's to work in Bihar

I have received a mail from Dr. N.SARAVANA KUMAR, IAS,  District Magistrate & Collector, Supaul - 852 131 (Bihar) about Kosi river Flood. Though the mail is addressed to me  (Dr. N.SARAVANA KUMAR, IAS,  is my senior at our Alma Mater), I am publishing here because of it's public importance.
Thanks to the breach in the main embankment of Kosi river in the Nepal border, flood situation has arisen in 5 districts of Bihar, the worst affected being Supaul. Now, the Kosi ( " Sorrow of Bihar") river has changed its entire course and is now passing in totally different direction, flooding hitherto nonflooded areas of 5 of my blocks. As the people have never anticipated floods, they were so shocked , many of them have left not only the district but the entire area.
1) The first priority work which the administration has undertaken is the massive evacuation exercise, removing the marooned and stranded people to safe areas. There was noteven a single boat in this area, when the flood situation has arisen. but we could manage 450 boats mostly country ones , within one week's time. But some panchayats falling in the main current of the river could not be reached with the ordinary boats we had. So, we sought for Army's help. 12 army columns have been drafted in this operation. Dry food packets have been distributed as immediate relief through Air dropping by choppers and also by boats which were sent for evacuation.
2) Out of the evacuated people, most of the upper and middle class people have managed to go out of the district or else statyed in their relatives' place. Most people mainly the poor, downtrodden who have no place to go have been given shelter immediately in the government relief camps. At one point of time, Supaul district had 76 government relief camps having a capacity of 1,30,000 providing facilities like cooked food, drinking water, medical facility, fodder for cattle etc.. since last 45 days. This herculean task is further complicated by the fact that the governmnet staff are not used to this type of work like running relief camps for such a long time and evacuating people through boats.Then, they are being given dress and vessels under the CM Relief Fund. Non-governmental agencies came in large and unmanageable numbers in the initial days, but not to blame them, they could not carry on the relief works after few days. We have evolved a mechanism of regulating the NGOs and private players who wanted to contribute their bit in relief works. None of them have been allowed to do any relief work with out the permission from district administration. They have been channelised in such a way that relief materials doesnot accumulate in few particular places but could reach the needy in remote areas too. NGOs have been totally banned from putting up their banners / flags in relief operations. Those NGOs interested in just putting up banner and getting photographed were actively discouraged and banned. this has helped in screening out nonserious / fly overnight NGOs. Weekly NGO coordination meeting was organised at my level to regulate them effectively and also to escape from the accusations from some NGOs that district administration doesnot take help from NGOs.
3) Thirdly, as per Calamity Relief Fund norms, each affected family is being provided 100 kg of foodgrains and Rs 2250 cash ( cash dole + for vessels + for clothings). So far , we could cover 1,10,000 families, including cash distribution of 23 crores.
4) The major challenge is going to be the rehabilitation and restoration of the affected area. Due to the devastation, connectivity / accessibility is a major problem which we are trying to address out. Rehabilitation package is being given a final shape by the state level committee. It seems this is going to be the more challenging work. Now, as the water level is receding steadily, people have slowly started moving back to their areas. Still, agricultual land is inundated with water, most areas being silted with sand upto 5 feet. Roads, Bridges, Buildings have seen devastating damage. True the water level is receding but surely, the problems of the people of affected area are going to remain for few more months atleast.

Keep suggesting me better ways of rehabilitation and restoration !!

n.saravana kumar

District Magistrate & Collector,
Supaul - 852 131 (Bihar)
06473 - 223112 (O ).

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