Patna: Living in a tree house may fascinate the occasional traveler, but it is not the case with the villagers of Bagder in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district. They are in the process of shifting houses to the trees as the threat of an imminent flood looms large.
Around 100 families in this hamlet have not forgotten last year devastation when a raging Ganga washed away their mud and thatch houses. Since then, they have been living in an orchard.
They all belong to poor Mahadalit and tribal communities and make their ends meet by working as daily wagers.
A family living on a tree in the village.
Heavy rain and a swelling Ganga has scared them again, forcing them to shift to their trees with all their belongings. A visit to their tiny settlement shows men busy in binding bamboos to the different branches of trees and layering tarpaulins over them.
Despite assurances, the administration has failed to relocate them or help them build houses again. Umesh Mandal says, “We are landless people. Ideally we should have got land pattas but nothing has happened so far. We are compelled to shift to trees.”
However Amlendu Kumar, an officer with disaster management department, told that all affected families can shift in Sabaur block office, a kilometer away from the village.
“We have converted a building to give shelter to homeless people. I will request them to stay there. We will ensure basic facilities”, he assured.