Did you know the Adivasi area of Gadchiroli in Maharashtra is heavily hit by floods? Bodhi Ramteke, a resident of Gadchiroli, writes about the disastrous situation and the neglect by the Government.
When the whole country was celebrating Independence Day, the Gadchiroli region in Maharashtra was underwater. Gadchiroli, which is heavily populated by Adivasis (38% of Gadchiroli’s population consists of Adivasis), is one of the most neglected districts in Maharashtra. This year, heavy rains have caused severe floods in the district. Two of the highly affected talukas were Bhamragadh and Aheri. During the flood, more than 200 villages lost their connectivity with the rest of the world and 110 villages were severely affected.
Even today, it is difficult to reach many villages. The flood has caused damage to hundreds of houses and has destroyed crops on thousands of hectares of land. Many schools, hospitals, and government offices were shut down. One of the police stations in Kothi Village was underwater for 2 days, which damaged all the documents and other important things in the police station.
Women who were pregnant faced a lot of problems during this flood. Laxmi, who was pregnant, was unable to reach the hospital when she was suffering from labour pain. To reach the hospital, one has to cross a bridge, which during the flood was also underwater. Although an ambulance was standing on the other side of the bridge, she couldn’t cross the bridge and had to give birth to the child on the road. Although she survived, the child didn’t.
This isn’t the first time that such a flood has affected Gadchiroli. For the last 20-30 years, people have been facing a similar predicament almost every year. People have been demanding an increase in the height of many bridges for a long time now, but the government has failed in taking any constructive steps to do so. For them, the lives of Adivasis are not a priority. Every time the issue of roads and bridges is raised, the government argues that they cannot build bridges as it is a Naxal area.
The irony is that, with full police protection, the government can build and run mining projects by cutting down thousands of hectares of forests, although this is opposed by Naxals. What then, is the excuse to not build better roads and higher bridges under such police protection?
The government is constantly neglecting the people in Gadchiroli and doesn’t have basic data related to the red and blue flood lines. The guidelines of disaster management are not properly followed and implemented in the area. Not a single MP or MLA has visited the flood-affected area yet.
Bodhi Ramteke and Advocate Deepak Chatap started an initiative called ‘Helping hands for Gadchiroli flood victims’ under which we are providing required materials like grains, clothes, tarpaulin, torches etc to the Adivasis affected by the flood. We were there for one week and have provided relief materials to the Somanpalli village, which we had to walk 4-5 kms through the forests to reach. We also provided relief materials to the Kothi, Kiyar, Karampalli and Bhamragadh villages.
We request you to join hands with us to provide the necessary support to the Adivasis who are affected by the flood.
Below is a list of relief material that is required urgently:
To donate money, you can Google Pay Bodhi at 7721867881. To donate relief material, you can contact him on the same number above.
Note: Bodhi Ramteke is a 4th-year law student studying at ILS Law College, Pune. He hails from Gadchiroli and is working on various social-legal issues. The above article has been submitted to us by the author. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.