MYSURU: While workers are flooding villages with report cards of political parties, 72-year-old Rajappa has compiled a file of a different kind to show partymen and netas visiting Srirangapura, now called Chikkahole. Rajappa’s father Malle Gowda owned 4.21 acres on which they cultivated sugarcane, water melons and other crops. However, the family, like many other families in the village, were displaced as their land submerged during the construction of the Chikkahole reservoir in 1985. The villagers of Siddaiahnapura, Ankashettypura, Basavarapura and Chamarajanagar who lost their fertile lands were promised compensation and water for their fields.
Like many others, Rajappa too ran from pillar to post trying to get his due. He wrote to the Deputy Commissioner, Kabini Chief Engineer, Suvarnavathi Chief Engineer, MP as well as MLAs, pleading for relief. In his file, Rajappa has copies of these letters as well as revenue records in his and his two brothers’ names.
The dam changed the lives of many for the worse. With no alternate land or compensation for three decades, many people like Devanaga Shetty and his family have given up all hope and migrated to Bengaluru for jobs.“I had almost given up all hope but I decided to fight it out to get compensation for my two children. They have nothing to fall back on except work as tractor drivers and loaders. We are now tilling a land that we have taken on lease,” Rajappa said.
Rajappa said that boycotting elections will not solve any problem. “We should exercise our right to vote to get things done in a democratic way,” he said. He added that the society is in need of officers and leaders who work for the common man. Lack of empathy in officers is what forces people to run from revenue and irrigation offices to netas, he said.
He said that he had also met MP R Dhruvanarayan. But the only solace he has received is a letter from the DC asking him to submit another letter to the irrigation office in Suvarnavathi in November 2018.There are others from the village such as Basavanna and Madaiah Mahadeva, who have given up trying to get any compensation as their pleas and petitions have fallen on deaf ears. But, this has not stopped Rajappa from waging a lonely battle during the battle for ballots.