A substantial number of people, whose houses and belongings were washed away in the floods that ravaged several northern districts of the State in October 2009, are yet to get houses under the Aasare scheme launched by the government to rehabilitate them.
Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar told the Legislative Council on Thursday that people of only 201 villages of a total 289 have been rehabilitated so far.
Replying to Congress member Veerkumar Patil during the Question Hour, Mr. Shettar said the remaining 88 flood-affected villages would be relocated at a higher elevation at the earliest. It is one of the biggest rehabilitation projects in the State and consequently the delay.
The Opposition members took exception to the delay in rehabilitation and said the victims were in dire straits as they were living in tin-roofed temporary structures along with their families and cattle.
Congress member Veeranna Mathikatti said that the houses, which had been built under the Aasare scheme, did not suit the requirements of victims who were basically farmers. “They need big space to accommodate their cattle, farm implements and grains storage. But these victims with joint families have been given houses which are built on small sites with a dimension of 20 X 30 feet. Hence a large number of victims are not occupying them as these houses lack space for cattle and hay stock, which is their lifeline,” he said.
The Opposition members, including Mr. Matihakatti, leader of the Opposition S.R. Patil and Janata Dal (Secular) member Basavaraj Horatti, demanded the constitution of House committee headed by Council Chairman D.H. Shankaramurthy to visit some of the houses built under the Aasare scheme to verify if they served the purpose.
The victims were reluctant to occupy them as they were yet to get infrastructure support like water supply, electricity, roads, hospitals and schools, they said.
Intervening during the debate, Housing Minister V. Somanna said a large number of victims, who were allotted Aasare houses, wanted to retain their old properties, even if it was in ruins, as they had emotional attachment to them.
Hence the government had instructed the officials concerned to desist from taking over the old properties of the flood victims even if they were allotted new houses, he said.