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Last Updated : May 15, 2019 08:08 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Voters of this island in West Bengal have proof of residence, but no homes to show

The western portion of the island is exposed to the Bay of Bengal, and swathes of its land are being swallowed by rising waves

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Residents of Mousuni island in West Bengal face an odd problem: they will vote in the last phase of the elections on May 19, but the address mentioned on their voting card no longer exists.

According to a report by Times of India, around 6,000 of the 28,000 residents of Mousuni have permanently lost their homes to rising sea levels in the past decade.

About 120 kilometres from state capital Kolkata, the 26 sq-km island lies on the southernmost tip of Bengal, according to the report. The western portion of the island is exposed to the Bay of Bengal, and swathes of its land are being covered by rising waves.

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"I had a home and fields to plough. Now, all I am left with is a broken hut on a small strip of refugee land," said Anwara Bibi, one of the residents who lost her home.

Bibi told the newspaper that her husband had to switch his profession overnight from a farmer to a mason in Kolkata when their home was swallowed by the sea.

"Every night, I fear getting washed away by the sea," Bibi said. According to the report, Bibi's house lies meters from the sea, and she has built an earthen embankment around her hut.

Mousuni falls under the Mathurapur Lok Sabha constituency, where the Trinamool Congress (TMC) has been winning since 2009. Before that, it was a Left bastion. However, residents of the island indicate that none of the parties have addressed their problem, according to the report.

Jannatun, Bibi's neighbour, said the address shown on her voter card no longer exists. "It (the address) is under sea. We will do our duty and cast our vote, but will the new government do something to get back our homes?" Jannatun asked, adding that the residents "don't expect anything now".

"I don’t even know the candidates participating in the election," Jannatun told the newspaper.

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First Published on May 15, 2019 08:08 pm
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