PRAYAGRAJ: At a time when the villagers of Baswar eagerly wait to meet the general secretary of the All India Congress Party (AICC) and state in-charge, Priyanka Gandhi, mysterious expert carpenters were seen repairing the damaged boats laying on the banks of river Yamuna on Sunday morning.
The villagers claim these boats were damaged in police action on February 4.
AICC general secretary is scheduled to visit Baswar and meet the locals on Sunday in light of alleged police atrocities on the people of Nishad community in follow up action to stop illegal mining of sand from river Yamuna.
However, before Priyanka could visit the village, several of the damaged boats that were laying unattended at the banks of the river, were being repaired by carpenters since Saturday evening.
While the locals claim that this was being done on the behest of district administration, the administrative machinery rebuts the claim.
“Our boats were damaged in the police action and were laying as it is but from Saturday evening, a large number of people came to the site and started repairing our boats. Seems like it is being done in light of the scheduled visit of the Congress leader,” said Buddhi Ram Nishad, a local.
“Since the day these boats were damaged, no one came to help these boatmen or repair their boats but overnight, when the administration came to know that Priyanka Gandhi is coming, these boats are being repaired,” said a local leader of Nishad community, Chotu Nishad.
Rebutting the claim made by locals, SDM Karchana Vinod Kumar Pandey, said, “District administration has nothing to do with repairing the boats, we are just here to make the arrangements in place in view of the visit of AICC general secretary.”
However, state general secretary of the Youth Congress, Vivekanand Pathak, while claiming that the boats are being repaired by the district administration, said, “These villagers, who live besides the banks of river, are dependent on the resources of the river for their livelihood. If the administration wants to take action, the same should be done against the ‘sand mafias’ and villagers should be permitted for fishing and sand mining to earn their livelihood”.