24 April 2009

The Youth Manifesto

Based on all the information collected by the scouts, they developed a youth manifesto on each of the nine stops. They then decided to put all of this together and create a summary of all the issues. They did this by answering these basic questions:

• What conclusions do youth make from this? (from the information exchange)
• What would youth like others (adults or politicians) to be told? What would they not like told?
• What are the common things, issues and actions youth along the Kosi share? What’s different?

The scouts discussed this amongst themselves, with the Praxis team and verified the information with the larger community (as in the photos below)

Presented below is a summary of issues for developing a Youth Manifesto for the Kosi

Benefits from the River
  • Fodder is available from 3-4 months to 6-7 months in a year
  • Rice and wheat cultivation is good.
  • The period of 7 to 8 months prior to the flood is gainful.
  • There are protective embankments here.
  • Tube wells can be dug easily (upto 25 to 30 feet) function well and water is available throughout the year
  • During the flood, irrigation becomes easy.
  • The land is never infertile due to the proximity of the river.

Losses due to the River
  • During floods, both embankments are inundated.
  • Some villages are prone to water logging.
  • For three months after the flood much devastation has to be faced and survival during the 3 to 4 months of flood (June to August) is quite difficult
  • It is also difficult to maintain livestock during this period due to unavailability of fodder.
  • Wild animals cause harm to the people, especially children.
  • During the flood most people are forced to leave their homes and escape elsewhere.
  • Drinking water gets contaminated with iron deposits for several days after the flood.
  • It is difficult to access market places.
  • Floods lead to destruction of crops (The wheat crop is destroyed every year)
  • There are sand deposits in the field, which render them uncultivable.
  • Lives are lost due to the flood.
  • Sanitation facilities are poor during the flood causing difficulty especially to the women.
  • A number of diseases break out in the village during the flood such as malaria, diarrhoea, etc.
  • Loss of property takes place due to floods.
  • Fields are destroyed due to the floods.
  • Floods lead to scarcity of food.
  • Medical facilities during floods are inadequate.
  • There are no transport facilities.
  • The school building gets flooded leading to difficulty in holding classes.

suggested by the youth
  • It is essential to construct guide embankments to prevent floods.
  • Sand deposits from the floor of the river need to be removed.
  • Boats need to be made available in adequate numbers for evacuation during floods.
  • Assistance from the government should come before the flood.
  • There should be a community building (for shelter during the flood).
  • A guide embankment should be built. Strong security embankments should be built so that the flood waters do not reach the homes of the villagers.
  • Trees should be planted on the dam/embankment. Due to flooding, the roads give away. So there should be trees planted along the roads.
  • The flow of the river should be divided into multiple streams.
  • The youth should unite and assume leadership of any such endeavours by forming youth federations or associations. There are no Youth Associations in the village that can work during calamities or negotiate with the Government during floods to claim their rights and put forth their demands
  • There should be a health centre and health care facilities (It is essential to have at least one health centre in the village or at least in the Panchayat)
  • Compensation should be provided for lost land.
  • There should be arrangements for fodder.
  • There should be arrangements for boats.
  • There should be arrangements for drinking water.
  • The water should be allowed to flow out.

Draft Policy Issues
  • The first step should be to exempt submerged land from tax and then to construct a strong security embankment.
  • Direct the flow of the river properly (sand deposits on the bed of the Ganga need to be removed)
  • Availability of fodder to be extended from the current 3 to 4 months to throughout the year.
  • Devastation due to flood that stretches over 3 months should be somehow reduced to a maximum of 15 days.
  • Destruction of fields should be prevented and crops lost to floods should be protected.
  • Medical facilities should be easily available to people.
  • There should be primary schools in all the villages.
  • Villagers who lose their land to the flood should be compensated by the government.
  • Safe drinking water should be available to the people of the villages.
  • The youth should unite and assume leadership of any such endeavours.
The youth felt that their demands should be placed before the political leaders and that their fight should go on till their demands have been met.

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