An 11 km graveled road from the National Highway 31 to Dhalpur Char in Sipajhar constituency of Darrang district that takes nearly an hour to drive through tells a hundred tales about what the Dhalpur Char (sandbar) area of the Brahmaputra, mostly inhibited by the Bengali speaking minority community, represented by BJP MLA Binanda Kumar Saikia, have been subjected to over the past five years of the BJP rule in Assam.
Neither did Sipajhar’s MLA Binanda Kumar Saikia go to the locality to campaign before the 2016 elections, nor was he ever sighted at Dhalpur once in the past five years even during the devastating annual floods. “The last time we saw Binanda Saikia was when he was Congress MLA from Sipajhar during the Congress rule. We have not seen him even once after he switched loyalty to the BJP. Nor has he ever bothered to enquire about our well being over the past five years,” said Mujammil Haque, a local of the char.
Not only is the char deprived of proper road connectivity, the children of the locality are also deprived of their fundamental right of education. There is no government school or college. “There is a venture school for primary education. Those who want to go to high school, there’s one at nearby Gorukhuti. Students have to ride bicycles during drier days. It becomes impossible for them to go to school during the monsoons. The only mood of community here becomes boats or rafts during the rainy season,” Haque said.
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There is a hospital building built by the government, “but no doctor or medicine”.
“A doctor visits once in a blue moon. But, it serves no purpose because there is no supply of medicine to the hospital,” said Nazrul Ali, another local resident.
The only mood of communication for patients during the rainy season is to be ferried on shoulders and raft before catching a vehicle from Gorukhuti.
He also said that there existed provision for electricity connection to the char, but no initiative was ever taken to provide electricity to the hamlet.
“It’s a char that has witnessed all conflicts and reconciliations over the decades. The people here are happened to be mere vote bank. There were times when leaders used to visit us to make false promises and give assurances never to be fulfilled. However, over the past five years of BJP rule, it has even been stripped of its vote bank status too. But, these are the people who have elected Binanda Saikia thrice and know only him as their representative irrespective of his party affiliation,” Ali summed up.
“Not only is Dhalpur deprived of basic amenities, almost the entire population of Sipajhar constituency has never seen the light of civilisation and development. There are a whole lot of work to be done to take Sipajhar to a par with rest of Assam,” said Congress ticket aspirant from the constituency Kuldeep Saikia.
The local MLA Binanda Kr Saikia was not available for his comments.