Inspirations: Kedar Nath Mandal, 76

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Photo:Sanjay Ghosh

Panchanandapur, West Bengal
Flood Relief Campaigner

Soumik Mukherjee

When flood waters inundated three villages of the Ganga char (riverine islands) in Malda district in 1998, Kedar Nath Mandal (sitting, foreground), a daily wager at a Kolkata factory, saw his own house washed away. Mandal decided it was time to do something. “We knew erosion is unstoppable,” he says. “But we had to make sure people got proper relief and rehabilitation. Since we got nothing but some bags of rice from the government, we had to look after ourselves.” Along with two friends, Mandal formed the Ganga Bhangan Pratirodh Action Committee to provide rehabilitation and relief to the people of the char. The committee started by asking for donations from nearby villages and towns. Mandal, a social activist, also started a school, Sabuj Pathshala, with the help of like-minded people from Kolkata. Besides helping flood victims of the char area, the organisation also fights for people’s rights. It has now started facilitating MGNREGA work in affected villages and filing RTIs to make sure that money reaches the right people.

Mandal can be contacted at +91 93780 99416

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