BENGALURU: A day after Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa announced the renaming of flood-hit villages after donor companies which contribute Rs 10 crore or more for rehabilitation, villagers from flood-affected belts have slammed his idea. The name of each village has its own significance and historical importance, and it is illogical to even think villages can be renamed, they said.
With a heavy downpour leading to massive damage, as per latest data, 103 of 176 taluks are flood-hit. More than 16,400 km of roads and around 500 bridges have been damaged. At least 2,000 villages are affected due to rain in 22 districts, and rehabilitating them requires a huge amount from the state government, which may not be entirely possible.
Yediyurappa had told reporters on Wednesday that if any industrialist came forward to donate Rs 10 crore or more to rebuild a particular village, it would be renamed after that company or business house.
Deepak Burli, a resident of flood-hit Ananthpur, in Athani taluk of Belagavi district, said it was unfair on the CM’s part to take such an illogical decision. “Will Yediyurappa rename Karnataka if someone is ready to donate Rs 500 crore for its development? What he needs to understand is that the name of every village, town and city reflects its history, culture, tradition and heritage. He is making an effort to delete history. Let him take donations from industrialists and name some roads, circles or other spots in that village after them,” he said.
Chidanand Shigunshi, from flood-hit Savadi in Athani taluk, said: “If someone says he is ready to spend on your child’s education and take care of him, is it possible to give his name to your child? The child can carry only his father’s name. Names of villages have historical importance. The CM should not even think of it. I appeal to the CM to name a hospital, road, school or lake after philanthropists.’’
Some villagers said they would refuse to accept compensation. “We are not ready to accept the government’s offer. If they are ready to rehabilitate us in this way, we will protest and refuse their compensation,” Raju Rampur, from Nayanaegali of Bagalkot district, said.
SOME WELCOME IDEA
Some villagers, however, welcomed the idea. “I think it would be better if the names of destroyed villages are named after donors. What is important at this juncture is rebuilding villages. What’s in a name? Name matters the least before the helping hand of the donor. For example, the new village for resettling Tatkola evacuees was named Guptashettyhalli after then DC Harsh Gupta and late SP Madhukar Shetty, who provided land for rehabilitation,” said Nandeesh, from Bankenahalli of Mudigere taluk.
Sadashiva Itganavar, president of Malali village panchayat, near Mudhol, said, “We welcome the government’s decision as they are working for redevelopment of villages. We are ready to rename our village after the company which donates for us. A village getting Rs 10 crore is not a small issue,” said Itganavar.
Narayana, a resident of Didupe in Belthangady, said he has no problem if his village name is changed but the problems of people who have suffered due to flood should change. “The compensation given by the government as per NDRF norms is a pittance, compared to losses we have suffered,” he said.
JDS SLAMS CM
The JDS, on its official Twitter handle, slammed the CM’s idea. “BSY’s idea looks like Tughlaq. Villagers who lost all their belongings looks like they will be losing their village identity (sic),” said the tweet. Senior BJP leader KS Eshwarappa defended Yediyurappa’s idea. “The extent of damage is so great that it requires huge amounts of money. The one who donates Rs 10 crore might not give without any expectations. There is nothing wrong in keeping the name of the person or industry for a village. If villagers oppose this move, naturally money will go to another village which accepts it,” he said. However, he added, “If a donor is fine retaining the original name of the village, that will be great.”