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Barsimalua banks on boats even after 73 years of freedom

By Ramen Kalita

NALBARI, Aug 14 - Seventy three years after India got independence, country boats are the only means of communication and livelihood for the people of a village situated very close to the State capital Guwahati. Barsimalua, a village under Barbhag Revenue Circle in Nalbari district reels under water for six months from May to October.

Though the village is home to poor scheduled caste people, it is located hardly 50 kilometres from smart city Guwahati which is also the State capital. While parking of a luxurious vehicle on the homestead is considered a prestigious issue in this present era, the villagers keep a country boat ready before their houses. A small country boat is the only means of communication and earning source for poor villagers to maintain their poor families.

In the village, everyone from little girls to elderly ladies can easily row boats for their day-to-day needs. The village has more than 300 boats. Everyone in the village, male or female, can swim. �We are mentally and physically prepared to co-exist with water as the area continues to reel under water,� said Ganesh Namasudra, a young social worker of the village. He lamented that every government has been using the people of the village as a vote bank. They have no interest to ameliorate the woes of the villagers by carrying out development.

Talking to this correspondent, the gaonburha Debaru Ram Namasudra said, �During the peak rainy season, when the Pagladia flows above the danger level, the water touches the roofs of the houses. In those times, the poor spend their days and nights on boats. The gaonburha informed that the village has 360 families with a population of 1,605. As the village is situated on the bank of the Barali beel, fishing is their main occupation. As the beel is gradually drying up due to heavy siltation by the Pagladia during floods, the villagers are losing their livelihood. The gaonburha said that the villagers earlier cultivated sali paddy but don�t do it now due to the massive volume of water. �Now some farmers cultivate early Ahu paddy, but most of time they can�t harvest the crops safely due to water,� he said. He added that as the villagers have lost their livelihood, most of the youths have migrated in search of livelihood. According to sources, more than 100 youths of the village have been working in various firms outside the State like in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal and Gujarat. These youths did not even return during the lockdown. On the other hand, many villagers have left cultivation and are doing various odd jobs in various regions within the State also.

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Barsimalua banks on boats even after 73 years of freedom

NALBARI, Aug 14 - Seventy three years after India got independence, country boats are the only means of communication and livelihood for the people of a village situated very close to the State capital Guwahati. Barsimalua, a village under Barbhag Revenue Circle in Nalbari district reels under water for six months from May to October.

Though the village is home to poor scheduled caste people, it is located hardly 50 kilometres from smart city Guwahati which is also the State capital. While parking of a luxurious vehicle on the homestead is considered a prestigious issue in this present era, the villagers keep a country boat ready before their houses. A small country boat is the only means of communication and earning source for poor villagers to maintain their poor families.

In the village, everyone from little girls to elderly ladies can easily row boats for their day-to-day needs. The village has more than 300 boats. Everyone in the village, male or female, can swim. �We are mentally and physically prepared to co-exist with water as the area continues to reel under water,� said Ganesh Namasudra, a young social worker of the village. He lamented that every government has been using the people of the village as a vote bank. They have no interest to ameliorate the woes of the villagers by carrying out development.

Talking to this correspondent, the gaonburha Debaru Ram Namasudra said, �During the peak rainy season, when the Pagladia flows above the danger level, the water touches the roofs of the houses. In those times, the poor spend their days and nights on boats. The gaonburha informed that the village has 360 families with a population of 1,605. As the village is situated on the bank of the Barali beel, fishing is their main occupation. As the beel is gradually drying up due to heavy siltation by the Pagladia during floods, the villagers are losing their livelihood. The gaonburha said that the villagers earlier cultivated sali paddy but don�t do it now due to the massive volume of water. �Now some farmers cultivate early Ahu paddy, but most of time they can�t harvest the crops safely due to water,� he said. He added that as the villagers have lost their livelihood, most of the youths have migrated in search of livelihood. According to sources, more than 100 youths of the village have been working in various firms outside the State like in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal and Gujarat. These youths did not even return during the lockdown. On the other hand, many villagers have left cultivation and are doing various odd jobs in various regions within the State also.