BIRGUNJ, Aug 7: A Dalit settlement in Parsa district has been virtually cut off as the only road that connected it with other parts of the district has submerged under water overflowing from a local irrigation dam.
As a result, the 56 Dalit families of the settlement have no access to the nearby main bazaar of Belwa VDC-6.
The isolation of the Dalit settlement has mainly affected the children as they have not been able to go to their school. "The children have been staying home as the road connecting our settlement to the area where the school is located is under water," said Shankar Mahara, a resident of the settlement.
Also, most of the families living in the settlement have built another house with the only family kitchen in Bhediyani of Belwa-5, which is now separated by the floodwaters. "Those families with their kitchen in another VDC have been hit hard," said Ram Awatar Mahara, a local resident of Belwa-6.
Most of the inhabitants of the settlement are laborers who work in the Birgunj-Simara industrial area. With the road cut off, the workers too are facing great difficulty going to work.
"My work place was just a 15-mintue walk from my home," said Jitendra Hajara, another resident of the settlement, adding, "Now, it takes almost one and a half hours to reach there. I have to leave home quite early as crossing the flooded road takes a lot of time."
The dam was built with the support of Asian Development Bank (ADB) to provide irrigation facilities to local villages. "When the design for the dam was being prepared, we had urged to include a bridge as well," said Tulasi Prasad Tharu, chief of Division Number 4 of Midwestern Irrigation Development Division. "Later, the bridge was removed from the design as per the preconditions of donors."
The villagers, on the other hand, allege that they were betrayed by the division office.
They said when they took up the bridge issue with the irrigation division at the time of dam construction, the division had given them assurances.
The villagers say they would not have to stay aloof in rainy seasons if the bridge was incorporated in the whole design of the bridge.