Residents in Kurlageri village in Nargund taluk have been living in make-shift tin-sheet sheds with no basic amenities for four years now. This has been their fate since the September 2009 floods brought down their houses.

Though 458 houses have been built for them under the Aasare scheme, not one of them has been distributed. As a result, while the houses are in ruins, people of about 40 families continue to live in make-shift sheds just outside the rehabilitation colony. Some are using the unoccupied houses as cattle sheds.

“It is sad to see the houses built for us crumbling before our eyes. If they were allotted, it would have helped us. Some families have occupied the houses on their own. But the houses too are not in good shape as they have remained unoccupied for long. How can I take the risk with no allotment records in my name?” said F.S. Sabnis, one of the villagers.

“The tin sheds were constructed to provide temporary shelter. But now it appears that it will become their permanent shelter. The sheds too have started crumbling,” said Shankarappa Hugar, who has occupied one of the houses without title deeds. “I lived in the sheds for four years. But a few months ago my daughter came home for delivery. I thought it was safe to move here because rats and snakes are common in our sheds. It is risky to keep a mother and child in the shelter,” he said.

Similarly, Yellamma Budihal, an elderly woman, said that she had occupied another house for safety reasons. “My health does not permit my staying in such a make-shift space,” she said.

Caste, the reason?

The gram panchayat members blame each other for the state of affairs. Beneficiaries are demanding distribution of houses on caste lines, and every caste wishes to be allotted houses in specific directions. “The officials too have tried to distribute the houses. But the residents are firm on their demands and not ready to work out a compromise. A few selfish people have landed all of us in trouble,” said K.S. Patil, a resident.

‘Internal problems’

Nargund Tahsildar B.B. Nilannavar, however, said that he was “not fully aware” of the reasons for the delay in the distribution of Aasare houses at Kurlageri.

He said that he had heard about some “internal problems” among the villagers which was delaying distribution of houses, without specifying the nature of the problems and the action initiated by the taluk administration to sort out those problems.

He said that some of the villagers had complained about irregularities in finalising the list of beneficiaries. The issues will be discussed at the development works progress review meeting at the taluk panchayat and a solution may emerge soon, he said.

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