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Ravaged by flood fury, but relief just a trickle

For three years on the trot, different parts of the state have been devastated by floods and landslides.

Published: 22nd August 2021 03:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd August 2021 03:30 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

For three years on the trot, different parts of the state have been devastated by floods and landslides. But rebuilding, compensation and relief works have fallen short as the state has not received the expected funds from the Centre.

Year after year, the State Government has received only a fraction of the relief funds it had sought. The effect of this is on the common man whose life has been ruined as restructuring and relief is slow in coming.

68-year-old G Raju, resident of Male Thirike Betta in Virajpet taluk of Kodagu district saw his house getting buried due to a landslide on August 8, 2019. Two years after the incident, he still runs from pillar to post to avail the house sanctioned by the State Government. He says he was unable to even retrieve his belongings as he had to shell out nearly Rs 20,000 for manpower to clear the debris. Two chief officers of the panchayat concerned have come and gone, but Raju continues pleading with the administration to help him get his sanctioned house.

“I live in a rented house now and pay Rs 7,000 rent every month. Survey of the house damage was conducted and I was promised a new house. But now, they say the government does not have funds,” he laments.

Exactly a year before that, Sangeetha Thomas D’Souza (39) lost her house to floods in Nellihudikeri village, also in Kodagu. Besides her, nearly 300 families in the gram panchayat limits lost their houses to the floods. Most of them continue to reside in tarpaulin tents, pleading with the administration to rebuild their houses.

“The government denied sanctioning the houses as they accused us for residing on ‘paisari’ land (waste, forest lands declared as government property, not notified as protected forests or as forest reserves). Our families have been residing there for four generations and nobody evicted us. But when floods hit the place, we are blamed,” rues Sangeetha. “But we fought as one for eight months and were sanctioned 1,367 sqft land each for a rehabilitation house.”

An eight-acre site was identified to rehabilitate the families. But no work has begun to build the houses. Sangeetha lost her husband 10 months ago, and lives a hard life with her two daughters. “The rehabilitation house could bring back some hope,” she says. Such miseries echo across the state from districts repeatedly most affected by floods.

KODAGU
The district has been a major victim of natural disasters since 2018. Despite the travails of the people, sanctioned amounts for relief works remain far below estimates.

  • In 2018, the district suffered losses of Rs 1402.94 crore,
  • Under State Disaster Relief Fund, Kodagu was sanctioned only Rs 177.69 crore for relief works, and the houses sanctioned for victims remain incomplete.
  • 4,252 houses, 1,30,633.88 hectares of agricultural land and roads, including NH 275, were damaged. 20 deaths were reported.
  • In 2019-20, South Kodagu witnessed heavy floods. That year, 20 people were killed.
  • Overall damage this year pegged at Rs 333.02 crore
  • Rs 121.71 crore was sanctioned for relief works.
    Many who lost their houses to floods have not yet been sanctioned houses despite State Government’s promises.
  • In 2020-21, Rs 601.20 crore damage was reported. Only Rs 59.13 crore was sanctioned for relief work.

BELAGAVI

  • Abrupt release of water from Maharashtra dams caused large-scale damage in the Krishna belt in 2006. Loss of infrastructure facilities was at a massive scale.
  • Maharashtra and Karnataka coordinated to check inflow and outflow of dams to avoid floods, but it has not been completely possible.
  • In 2019, the same areas in Krishna belt witnessed flood havoc.
  • Recurring floods in North-Karnataka, particularly in Belagavi, Bagalkot and Vijayapur, have damaged infrastructure facilities, properties, crops and claimed human lives in the last 20 years.
  • Total estimated losses due to floods in 2019 was Rs 10,000 crore, but government released only Rs 1,200 crore to the district administration.
  • Of this, only Rs 100 crore was spent on rebuilding damaged infrastructure facilities.
  • Minister In-Charge of Belagavi, Govind Karjol says losses suffered due to recent floods (July 2021) are estimated at a whopping Rs 3,800 crore.
  • The government asked Belagavi Deputy Commissioner to utilise Rs 92 crore fund available to tackle the flood situation and said that funds from State and Centre will be released once the estimates of the entire losses are ascertained.

KALABURAGI

  • District administration has prepared a list of 157 villages in Afzalpur, Jewargi, Chittapur, Sedam and Kalagi taluks which are “frequently affected by floods”.
  • During the 2019 floods, 65 villages were shifted. In the 2020 floods, 73 villages were inundated and 1,226 houses damaged.
  • Although the government constructed houses for the af fected vi l lagers, very few families shifted to permanent houses.
  • Kalaburagi district in-charge minister Murugesh Nirani says houses were constructed with help of philanthropists during the 2008 floods, but were not occupied by beneficiaries.
  • In 2020-21 floods, crops on 4.42 lakh hectares were affected; Estimated loss was Rs 311.62 crores, but the government released only Rs. 127.96 crore.
  • A joint survey of crop loss for 2021-22 is under way.

HASSAN

  • Six of eight taluks declared flood-affected, most in Sakleshpur taluk in Western Ghats region.
  • In 2019, 177 houses were completely damaged, 950 partially and 1,058 electric poles collapsed.
  • In 2021, 67 houses were completely damaged and 233 partially damaged. At least 24,534 persons were affected in 2019-20 and 16,248 in 2020-21.
  • The district authority submitted a proposal seeking Rs 350 crore for relief in 2019-20, but got only Rs 27 crore.
  • In 2021, the district got just Rs 6.60 crore, against a Rs 272 crore proposal, for relief works.
  • The government recently released special grants of Rs 15 crore to repair roads and bridges.

BAGALKOT

  • 195 villages were affected by floods in 2019.
  • Of these, the district administration planned to rehabilitate 60 villages to safer places.
  • Due of lack of funds, rehabilitation work has hardly seen any development.
  • Total flood loss pegged at Rs 2,547 crore, including Rs 1,500 crore in crop loss.
  • But State released only Rs 650 crore, including Rs 280 crore for relief works.
  • In 2020, the flood loss estimated at Rs 1,150 crore, but the state gave only 143.5 crore for relief works.

VIJAYAPURA

  • About 75 villages in Muddebihal and Nidagundi taluks, located along Krishna and Bhima rivers, were hit by floods in 2019 and 2020.
  • People in 20 villages demanded the district administration to shift their villages to safer places.
  • Even after multiple requests, no action was taken to rehabilitate them in Krishna belt; No village identified for rehabilitaion in Bhima river basin.
  • A total of Rs 133.4 crore loss was reported in 2019.
  • The government released only Rs 10 crore for relief works.
  • A total of Rs 250 crore loss reported due to floods in 2020.
  • The government released only Rs 33.27 crore for relief works.
  • DC P Sunil Kumar says, “We have not sent any proposal on rehabilitating the affected villages because we are working at finding alternative solutions to prevent floods in vulnerable villages.”

MYSURU

  • At least five died and two grievously injured during floods, while 3,524 were given temporary accommodation and other essentials at 34 camps.
  • Over 78 pucca houses and 141 kuchha house were damaged.
  • Nearly 2,000 houses were severely damaged and over 1,200 houses were partially damaged, losses coming up to over Rs 115 crore.
  • Extent of flood damage in 2019 in the district was nearly Rs 250 crore. But as per SDRF and NDRF norms, Rs 47 crore was released as flood relief.
  • In 2020, although the extent of loss was less, 340 houses were damaged in HD Kote, Nanjangud, Periyapatna and Hunsur taluks.
  • The victims say the government’s promises are still not met.
  • About 40 families were promised houses, but two years since, the authorities have failed to reconstruct them.

DHARWAD

  • District administration has estimated crop loss of Rs 144 crore as over 23,000 hectares stood in either rainwater or flash floods, mainly in Bennihalla and Tuprihalla.
  • The floods have devastated roads, lakes, bridges, school and Angawadi buildings and total estimated damage is Rs 392 crore.

GADAG

  • Maximum loss is due to flooding of Malaprabha river and Bennihalla rather than the rain.
  • The district administration has submitted a proposal to the government in this regard, but has not yet received funds.

(With inputs from Prajna GR in Madikeri; Ramkrishna Badseshi in Kalaburgi, Uday Kumar B R in Hassan, Mahesh M Goudar in Vijayapura, Naushad Bijapur in Belagavi, K Shiva Kumar in
Mysuru, Mallikarjun Hiremath in Dharwad and Raghottam Koppar in Gadag) 



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