News From Mozda (26th June 2003)


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26th June 2003
Hello All

I bring you some news from Mozda. It is webpage because I wanted to include photographs and I did not want to send attachments frequently to a lot of people, I decided to upload this page to a friend's website. Thanks to Andreas for hosting this page.

It has rained well in Mozda at the beginning of monsoon. And the brown hills of Mozda are rapidly turning into a beautiful green and getting a lush cover.

However, it rained incessantly between 15th June and 22nd June. Within this period, close to one-third of annual rains have already fallen, with only 8 rainy days gone. We hope we get enough rain during flowering of the crop. Seeding has been done and when I write this, sprouting is also good and one can see the rows in fields that make a farmer so proud.

Still, there are two not so good news from Mozda.

On morning of 25th June, villagers of Nani Singloti (a village where we have been organising watershed activities for the past three years) had a scuffle with the forest department employees. Later, two men and four women were badly beaten up by the forest department and the two men were arrested. The men were released on a personal bond on 26th June due to intervention of Anand, friends in Rajpipla and Vadodara.
It rained cats and dogs on 21st June. People say they have not seen so much water in the river since early 60s. Terav river flooded and overflowed over the fields and reached the main road, carrying tons of silt with it. The fields are now covered with sand laden silt, so was the road. The road was finally cleared on 25th June, but the fields are obviously not.

One man was almost washed away, but he managed to
catch a branch and climb a Tamarind tree. Two families of Bal village were not so lucky. Water entered their house, took away a lot of utensils, grain and a lot of other household things like beddings etc. Some smaller buildings were totally
 washed away.

Worst of all, the whole causeway (or 'bridge') on Terav river, that leads to the Dumkhal road was totally washed away. There is not a single part which will allow any vehicle to go, including motorcycles. This has cut off Fifteen Gujarat villages, and five Maharashtra villages (which used Gujarat for their usual shopping etc as they are always cut off from their towns).  This covers a population of about 6,500 persons according to the 1991 census.
Today I and Ishvar went to talk to the government officials in-charge of maintaining this causeway and the road beyond (which is badly broken at four places). The engineer said that they have already sent a proposal to the district office (which in-turn would forward it to the regional and then the state office) for a full-fledged bridge (as against the so-far existing causeway). But, to quote him, "The state government took all of seven years to pass a budget of Rs 22 lakh (Rs 2.2 million) for another bridge on the same road, so I am sure that it will take at least twice that many number of years for this budget of Rs 90 lakhs to be allowed).

So people have started walking over 15 km to reach a road from where they can use some sort of public transport. It is alright if one is fine, but if one has malaria, or worse still a snake-bite or have problems delivering a baby, then it just means bad trouble. The relativ
brokenbridgees of such patients will try to carry them to a road head, but four months is a long time.

So we have started applying pressure to the government bureaucracy and simultaneously looking for alternative ways of transport over the river as a temporary measure. Let us see what time has in store.