Bijnore, Aug 25 (IANS) Residents of 25 villages along the river Ganga who are on a ‘Jal Satyagarh’ since the past five days demanding a temporary bridge over the river and an embankment along it, on Saturday paid tributes to the victims of a boat accident that took place on August 24, last year.
As a mark of tribute, the Satygrahis held up pictures of 10 women, who died when their boat had capsized in the swollen river.
Farmers of Bijnore’s Daibalgarh area have been demanding a bridge connecting their villages and fields to the other side for long. But all their petitions have fallen on deaf ears. After last year’s accident failed to move the administration, they say they have been forced to resort to what they call ‘Jal Satyagrah’.
More than 100 villagers are taking turns, every day, to stand in knee-deep water of the river as part of the protest at Daibalgarh village.
Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait visited Daibalgarh village on Saturday to lend them support and paid homage to the deceased women, who had lost their lives in the tragedy.
Addressing the gathering, Tikait said: “Sacrifice of these women will not go in vain. The agitation will go on till the process for construction of a temporary bridge and an embankment along the river is started.”
The BKU leader further said: “Farmers have to risk their lives every time they have to cross the river to work in their fields. Every year, during monsoon, the river erodes thousands of acres of farmland, robbing farmers of their livelihood besides submerging houses.”
Meanwhile, district officials have assured villagers that their demand will be met after water level recedes in October, but the agitators refuse to relent.
According a satyagrahi, Resham Devi: “We are struggling to survive since 1952 and demanding an embankment and a bridge over the river. Many governments have come and gone — all giving false assurances. Today, people of several villages, including Chaharwala, Beeruwala, Simali, Meerapur, Chaukpuri and Sukkhapur, have been displaced by the Ganga that keeps changing course.”