A headless village, an incompetent headman

This is a classic example of absentee administration coupled with an indifferent headman. The villagers had lost hope long ago; they are now losing patience

Pankaj Kumar/For The Goan | FEBRUARY 16, 2013, 06:50 AM IST

An unannounced drizzle is normal for this time of the yearanywhere else. For Chandasi village of Noorserai block in Nalanda district ofBihar, this would mean a sudden change of appearance. The dusty plains meeklygive way to an expanse of swamps. Ankle deep mud never fails to surprisevillagers with its unending store of dangers lurking in its pores: thorns,flesh-hungry bolsters, scorpions, reptiles, to name a few.

A cobbled road paved with bricks which begins at the rear ofthe village and goes right up to the primary health centre, later connectingthe village to the main road, retains its identity in that expanse of swampsshould that be any consolation to the villagers. For, when it comes to takingit, they prefer risks in the mud to the dangers of the cobbled road. It is sopoorly made that it should not have been there, some of them say.

To exacerbate their plight, open drains running right nextto houses in the village lost their purpose of carrying filth soon after theywere constructed recently. Stagnant for months, the drains now breed mosquitoesand give out stench. Villagers no wonder are hopeless, angry with the callouslyindifferent headman and cranky about the utter lack of civic amenities here.  

 “An epidemic likemalaria or dengue can break out anytime. But who cares about our lives?” saysWakeel Prasad, a resident. “Nothing is happening on the ground here. But nobodyin the block administration pays attention to our problems. The headman islooting all the money sanctioned by the government and the officers work handin glove with him,” says Yadunandan Yadav.

Several proactive villagers made complaints to the headmanin the past. But these fell on deaf ears. “We made several complaints to theheadman about the poor condition of the road. He did nothing. The moneyallotted for NREGS was spent by the headman a year and half ago. And thepathetic road stands where it always was,” says Chitranjan Prasad, a farmer inChandasi village.

“Most people in our village are devoid of proper drainage,roads, toilets, etc. The close-by Muzaffarpur village has all of these,” ArvindYadav, a villager, says. That’s not all. There are other administrativeloopholes as well. “We don’t get our share of foodgrains through public distributionsystem (PDS). But we remain silent; we are tired of complaining,” VireshPrasad, another villager, says.

People seem to have little faith in the system so theyprefer to remain silent to raising voice. Pintoo Yadav, a villager, tells ushow when a villager once complained about the irregularities in the PDS to themarketing officer (MO) at the block level, ration supplies to all the villagerswas stopped. “

Agriculture, too, is in a poor shape in Chandasi. Farmershere are still glued to age-old techniques, ignorant of developments in thesector. There are yet no signs of organic farming here and no biogas unit hasever been thought of, let alone setting up one. “We hardly get any subsidy onagriculture as no one comes to inform us about the schemes. We talk to theheadman but he cares woefully little for us,” says Sidhdheshwar Prasad, afarmer.

*In association with Governance Now

Share this