Bihar villagers upbeat ahead of Trinidad and Tobago PM’s visit

Patna, Jan 7 (IANS) Ahead of Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s visit to her ancestral village in Bihar, preparations are in full swing at the village and there is a general mood of festivity in the air.

Persad-Bissessar, whose ancestors migrated from Bihar to the Caribbean islands in the 19th century, will visit Bhelupur village Jan 11.

Her ancestors are said to have migrated as Girmitiya labourers to Trinidad and Tobago, then a British colony in the Caribbean islands.

According to an official record sent by the Trinidad and Tobago government to Bihar, Persad-Bissessar’s great-grandfather Ram Lakhan Mishra had left Bhelupur village in Itarhi block of Buxar district, about 125 km from here, in 1889.

An official in Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s office said Persad-Bissessar, the first woman prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, will meet her relatives during the visit.

Some villagers have started repairing the roads by offering voluntary labour while others are cleaning up the village for a grand reception.

‘At present, our village roads are in bad shape but we will turn them smooth for her when she will visit her ancestral house in the village on foot,’ said Mantu Mishra, a villager.

‘The mood in the village is upbeat. People are busy doing everything to impress the daughter of the soil, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, after they got the news that she will visit them in search of her roots,’ said Ranjeet Kumar, a student.

Villagers and local administration are trying their best to make her visit a memorable one.

‘The district authorities have been making full preparations to welcome her and provide all possible comfort,’ said Buxar Sub-Divisional Magistrate Nishitha Verma, who visited the village to take stock of the arrangements.

Verma said that on Wednesday a team of district officials visited Bhelupur to see the road condition and work on a helipad for landing her chopper.

The electricity department has deployed an engineer to provide round-the-clock power supply to the village during her visit.

‘Our luck may change for better after her visit. Lack of basic facilities like clean drinking water, school, health centre in the village may draw the attention of authorities,’ said Manohar Singh, another villager.

Ajit Kumar, a local leader, said: ‘Village roads are in bad condition, clean drinking water is not easily available, there are no schools for girls.’

District police have also tightened security.

Four years ago, Mauritius Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam had visited his ancestral village in the state’s Bhojpur district, about 60 km from here.

A large number of people from Bihar migrated to the Mauritius, Fiji, Trinidad, Suriname, South Africa and other places in the 19th century to serve as indentured labourers on sugarcane and rubber plantations.