Bihar flood victims loot food grains from government store

January 3rd, 2009 - 4:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Jan 3 (IANS) Hundreds of Bihar flood victims broke into a government store in Supaul district and stole food grains to protest against the inadequate assistance provided to them by the state government, officials said Saturday.”The flood victims broke open the lock of a godown (store) in the presence of the police Friday evening and looted rice and wheat,” said Basant Kumar, an official of the state Vyapar Mandal that runs the storage facility.

“The food grains looted from the godown were meant for distribution under various schemes, including the school mid-day meal,” he added.

Police officials said six people have been arrested.

More than three million people were rendered homeless in Bihar when the Kosi river breached its bank upstream in Nepal and changed course Aug 18 last year.

Large tracts of land were flooded, forcing people to flee their homes and live along the roads under the open sky without food, clothes and drinking water. Some found shelter in the relief camps set up by the state government.

Many flood victims claim that even four months after the floods, they have not been provided adequate relief. In a bid to show the government their disappointment, many have now taken to blocking highways, rail tracks and looting food grains from stores.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) had last week announced an indefinite strike in Saharsa, Madhepura and Supaul districts to draw the government’s attention to the plight of the flood victims.

“Fed up with the government’s repeated promises and tired of requesting for relief, villagers have resorted to protest to draw the government’s attention to their plight,” a CPI-M leader said.

He claimed that nearly 25 percent of flood victims were yet to receive the first instalment of relief material.

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