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Patna’s Top Medical College And Hospital Turn Into Aquarium After Heavy Rain

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Nalanda Medical College and Hospital, Bihar’s top government medical hospital has turned into an artificial aquarium after continuous rainfall in Patna. Water has rushed into wards and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Fish, snakes, frogs, scorpions etc. can be abundantly seen in the water. The hospital administration has left patients and attendants unattended, even the doctors and other staff have stopped visiting.

This is the story of development in the state. Every year, Patna faces heavy rainfall and every year, the local government seems paralysed. The city’s drainage system is inefficient, choked or broken everywhere. Instead of taking any steps towards helping the hospital and its patients, authorities are just waiting for the rain to stop and water to automatically drain out.

Patna received a moderate rainfall of 132.1 mm in between 8.30am on Saturday and 8.30am on Sunday. This was the first ever monsoon rain the state capital after lean and dry months June and July. Rice farmers faced the worst ever water crisis, 2/3rd of their saplings have already dried out.

Urban population load and unprecedented mass migration have deteriorated Patna’s natural urban ecosystem leading to concretization of almost 99% wetlands in the city. It has been facing an appalling state of waterlogging after just a few hours of heavy rainfall and there seems to be no end to the situation. Constructions of buildings and apartments, as well as undergoing projects of state roads, highways and flyovers in and around the city, are human-made risks worsening the situation further. For the last two and half decades, Patna has been expanding explosively. Residents have been bypassing legal norms assigned under the Public Works Department of the State Government and have constructed homes indiscriminately. The government has overlooked this explosive expansion, and there has been a state of policy paralysis at the urban governance level to work on an Integrated Urban Development Plan.

Between 1990 to 2005, there was a state of zero urban governance. And after 2005, Patna turned into a ‘real estate haven’ when a katha (1360 ft) of land started valuing up to ₹20-60 lakh. Local private property owners then started selling their land and earning huge profits. If the government had controlled the sale and purchase of land resources, maybe today Patna wouldn’t have been facing such waterlogging.

Bihar has been blessed with wetlands, a dream for its agricultural economy for the fertile land it provides. Today, four major perennial wetlands are waterlogged zones. The first zone is extreme east of Patna Saheb and south to the New Bypass 30, near and around Mahatma Gandhi Setu. What was once a major part of unidentified and un-demarcated wetlands acting as a ‘water sink’ for a new urban sprawl, has now been taken over in the urbanisation boom. The situation is likewise for the whole of the Kankarbagh area and habitations in its proximity. The landscape north of the Bailey Road connecting to Danapur and the Army Cantonment is fully occupied by sky-rocketing apartments and homes with no or poor drainage.

The third zone is the Ganga Diara zone. Ganga has been shifting northward, leaving a vast piece of land. This land would have been an easy route to divert mass water during the monsoon. However, high profile individuals with political, judicial, bureaucratic and business backgrounds have now occupied this Gangetic bed, leaving no way to drain rainwater into Ganga.

The fourth zone is Meethapur Farms, an area that was also a part of unidentified and demarcated wetlands offering a livelihood to locals surrounding the habitat through fisheries and Trapa (Singhara) farming. Apart from livelihood, it was also acting as an area to disperse excess water for Meethapur and areas in proximity. The Bihar government destroyed the precious ecology by developing a bus stand and other educational institutions on it. The step was a big policy blunder, as it ignored the natural environment and ecology for blind development measures. It is disappointing to see how the Bihar Government has been treating our wetland ecosystems which are widely known for their rich productivity and ‘disaster risk reduction’.

Government policies do not address the growing instability of the hydrological cycle in the state. Every household has submersible boring, and the government has failed to supply potable drinking water. The government is only watching as a spectator.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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