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Refugees in own land: tale of a village

By PRABIR SIL
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KAMALPUR (TRIPURA), Nov 10 � Kurmaghat, once a bustling village on the bank of river Dhalai now stands in isolation. The villagers used to cultivate crops and sell in the nearest Kamalpur Bazar. But now, they have no market connectivity.

The rain-fed Dhalai river has changed the fortune of 24 villagers of seven minority families living at Kurmaghat, considered a granary of Kamalpur subdivision.

Surrounded by Bangladesh on three sides, Kurmaghat, not far from Kamalpur town, has got separated from the mainland after a devastating flood hit the entire subdivision way back in 1984.

A ray of hope for the villagers was that the village is connected with the mainland on only one side, that too through river Dhalai and during monsoon the entire village having 200 acres land remains cut off from Kamalpur town. The villagers have been running from pillar to post to make the people in power understand their problems but it seems their efforts have fallen short so far.

�I can�t explain to you the hardships we are facing here. The main trouble is connectivity. Since the village is surrounded by a foreign nation on all sides, we are bound to use river Dhalai to keep in touch with the mainland � Kamalpur town�, Milan Miah (43) said sitting on a chair in his courtyard at Kurmaghat.

�I face problem sending my only son � Akash, who is studying in an English medium school at Kamalpur town because of the �adverse location� of the village�, he said.

Milan said, �I had approached the DM, the SDM, the BDO and local Panchayat � Mohanpur to provide at least a boat or construct a bamboo made bridge over the river Dhalai so that we could freely move to Kamalpur town. Till today, we have not received any positive gesture from the babus�.

During Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, Pakistan Army had entered into Kurmaghat and went on rampage to destroy dwelling huts. �Pakistani soldiers had attacked the village so that cadres of Mukti Bahini could not take shelter here�, Milan said recalling those days.

�After creation of Bangladesh, we returned home (Kurmaghat) along with my father and other family members in March 1972 and started a new life here. Now, we are facing peculiar problems after coming up of barbed wire fencing. The administration has been putting pressure on us to shift our homes which fall 300-metres from the barbed wire fencing on security grounds�, he said.

�We are refugees on our own land. Basic facilities � education, healthcare, drinking water and market have not come up despite repeated appeals before babus and Pradhan�, he said.

�The remaining seven families of the total 17 families want to leave Kurmaghat if the government provides proper rehabilitation package to each family�, said Abdul Salam, another villager.

�All the seven families residing at Kurmaghat are dependant on agriculture and once we leave the place, Bangladeshi �miscreants� will take over our farm lands. The government must think of our problems too�, Abdul, a father of two girls, said.

For those families, who have been �rehabilitated� by the administration, the post-resettlement life is also miserable. �I have shifted my family from Kurmaghat to Tillergaon where basic amenities � drinking water, electricity and road still remain dreams�, said Jahid Ali while working on his farmland at Kurmaghat.

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Refugees in own land: tale of a village

KAMALPUR (TRIPURA), Nov 10 � Kurmaghat, once a bustling village on the bank of river Dhalai now stands in isolation. The villagers used to cultivate crops and sell in the nearest Kamalpur Bazar. But now, they have no market connectivity.

The rain-fed Dhalai river has changed the fortune of 24 villagers of seven minority families living at Kurmaghat, considered a granary of Kamalpur subdivision.

Surrounded by Bangladesh on three sides, Kurmaghat, not far from Kamalpur town, has got separated from the mainland after a devastating flood hit the entire subdivision way back in 1984.

A ray of hope for the villagers was that the village is connected with the mainland on only one side, that too through river Dhalai and during monsoon the entire village having 200 acres land remains cut off from Kamalpur town. The villagers have been running from pillar to post to make the people in power understand their problems but it seems their efforts have fallen short so far.

�I can�t explain to you the hardships we are facing here. The main trouble is connectivity. Since the village is surrounded by a foreign nation on all sides, we are bound to use river Dhalai to keep in touch with the mainland � Kamalpur town�, Milan Miah (43) said sitting on a chair in his courtyard at Kurmaghat.

�I face problem sending my only son � Akash, who is studying in an English medium school at Kamalpur town because of the �adverse location� of the village�, he said.

Milan said, �I had approached the DM, the SDM, the BDO and local Panchayat � Mohanpur to provide at least a boat or construct a bamboo made bridge over the river Dhalai so that we could freely move to Kamalpur town. Till today, we have not received any positive gesture from the babus�.

During Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, Pakistan Army had entered into Kurmaghat and went on rampage to destroy dwelling huts. �Pakistani soldiers had attacked the village so that cadres of Mukti Bahini could not take shelter here�, Milan said recalling those days.

�After creation of Bangladesh, we returned home (Kurmaghat) along with my father and other family members in March 1972 and started a new life here. Now, we are facing peculiar problems after coming up of barbed wire fencing. The administration has been putting pressure on us to shift our homes which fall 300-metres from the barbed wire fencing on security grounds�, he said.

�We are refugees on our own land. Basic facilities � education, healthcare, drinking water and market have not come up despite repeated appeals before babus and Pradhan�, he said.

�The remaining seven families of the total 17 families want to leave Kurmaghat if the government provides proper rehabilitation package to each family�, said Abdul Salam, another villager.

�All the seven families residing at Kurmaghat are dependant on agriculture and once we leave the place, Bangladeshi �miscreants� will take over our farm lands. The government must think of our problems too�, Abdul, a father of two girls, said.

For those families, who have been �rehabilitated� by the administration, the post-resettlement life is also miserable. �I have shifted my family from Kurmaghat to Tillergaon where basic amenities � drinking water, electricity and road still remain dreams�, said Jahid Ali while working on his farmland at Kurmaghat.

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