CRY to help river people shunned by Bengal govt

Written by Economy Bureau | Kolkata, Dec 27 | Updated: Dec 28 2007, 07:16am hrs
Child Rights & You (CRY) has stepped in to help the habitants of Khatiakhana char, a sandy shoal formed by the Ganga's rapid changes of course near Hamidpur ghat in West Bengal's Malda district.

According to Suman Talukdar, manager for development support, West Bengal's officials say the island belongs to Jharkhand because it is nearer to that state. Following this, the government has ignored development work in the area.

"Our main concern is to highlight the plight of the Khatiakhana char in front of the West Bengal government and give them their identity back," Talukdar said.

He said that if one char gets highlighted in the eyes if the government then others in the district were bound to come into focus.

"This char is inhabited by approximately 3000 people," said Talukdar.

CRY will provide educational facilities for children since there are no schools on the island.

In Malda district alone, the Ganga has eroded large chunks along it, creating eight or nine islands. Since 1997, the river has left around 1 lakh people homeless.