THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As Wayanad is witnessing a high-octane electoral battle by drawing national attention, the story of a group of 23 families from Mananthavady taluk in Wayanad stands testament to official apathy and political ineptitude.
These 23 families had lost their homes and land in the devastating mid-August floods. But their cup of woes does not seem to end as their rehabilitation continues to remain in a quandary. The land designated for relocating them is prone to landslide. And their rehabilitation has now been put on hold following the objection from the Geological Survey of India (GSI).
“Wayanad was one of the worst-affected districts in the floods. In Mananthavady taluk, 24 families had lost their houses and land due to the deluge. And they were included in the rehabilitation list,” said Revenue Department officer.
“But except the one, the rehabilitation of 23 families had to be put on hold as the GSI, the nodal agency for landslide studies in the country, raised objections against the designated land for rehabilitating them. The families had to find their own means to reside: some stay with their relatives and others in rented houses.”
The officer says that the GSI in a report submitted to the Wayanad District Collector had stressed the need for a special study for rehabilitating them. The officer added that the GSI’s objection is in the backdrop of the apprehension that the designated land is prone to either landslides or soil slip.
At the same time, Mananthavady taluk authorities said Kozhikode-based National Institute of Technology has been designated by the Revenue Department to look into the findings of the GSI and to certify the designated land as fit for house construction.
“The designated land for the 23 families is 5 km away from the Mananthavady town. The agency had collected samples from the spot and the report of the same is expected soon,” said a Revenue officer of Mananthavady Taluk.
Earlier, GSI had conducted a post-disaster study for landslides in Wayanad and recorded the landslide inventory details of the eight landslides occurred in the district on a 42-point geo-parametric data sheet. Also, the Post Disaster Needs Assessment Floods and Landslides prepared by UNDP highlighted that the heavy downpour accompanied by landslides had altered the topography of the land in several places of Wayanad beyond recognition. It also pointed out that the district is prone to deep-seated landslides.