Prayagraj: At a time when the boatmen of Baswar village were waiting for the arrival of Congress general secretary and state in-charge, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday morning, a group of carpenters reached the banks of river Yamuna mysteriously and started repairing the damaged boats, which the villagers alleged had been damaged in police action on February 4.
Priyanka had recently taken a dip at Sangam in Prayagraj on ‘Mauni Amavasya’ and had travelled in boatman Sujit Nishad’s boat who told her that atrocities had been committed on local boatmen in Baswar village in the trans-Yamuna area after some people complained that illegal mining was being done through boats.
The state government had banned the use of boats in sand mining on June 24, 2019.
Priyanka visited Baswar and met people of Nishad community to show solidarity and assure them of support.
However, a group of carpenters was seen repairing several damaged boats lying unattended on the banks from Saturday evening.
While the locals claim that the repair work was being done at the behest of district administration, the official rebutted the claim.
“Our boats were damaged in police action on February 4 and were lying on the ghat, but on Saturday evening some carpenters came and started repairing them. We did not hire them and it seems it is being done due to the visit of Congress leaders,” 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 it was announced that Priyanka is coming, these boats are being repaired,” said Chotu Nishad, a local leader of the community.
Rebutting the claims, 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 view of the visit of Congress leaders.”
However, Youth Congress state general secretary Vivekanand Pathak claimed the boats were being repaired by the district administration. “These villagers depend on the river for their livelihood. If the administration wants to take action, it should do so against sand mafia, Villagers should be permitted for fishing and sand mining to earn their livelihood,” he added.