Ratnavva Ramappa Mundaragi still shudders when she recollects how she along with her husband and two of her children spent several nights on a 5X3 feet shelter made of sticks and torn plastic sheet after their village was flooded following heavy rains since October 1 this year.
“God only knows how we spent several nights. It rained heavily and we spent the nights sitting under the plastic sheet that was torn at several places because of strong winds,” said Ratnavva, who is now at a roadside shelter near Gadagoli in Ron taluk of Gadag district.
Ratnavva and Ramappa are agricultural labourers who do not own any farmland. They have a daughter and three sons. While three children go to school, the eldest son Hanumanth tours villages selling plastic goods.
According to Ratnavva and Ramappa, while their two teenaged sons took care of themselves during the torrential rains and consequent floods, they had to take care of the two younger ones.
Before the floods, the family of Ratnavva used to live in a rented house at Gadagoli. The house collapsed in the rain forcing them to flee from the village. Now, they have taken shelter in the roadside near the village. The Government has not provided any shelter, temporary sheds have not yet been erected, according to Ratnavva and Ramappa.
They being farm labourers, the biggest question bothering them is how to eke out a living in the absence of any work in farmland as the standing crops have been damaged.
The same question haunts Renavva Danappa Naregal who belongs to the same category as that of Ratnavva. Renavva’s house has also collapsed completely.
The case of Hampavva Kambli’s is a bit different. The only difference is that her family owns a three-acre land but she cannot expect any income this year as the onion crop has been damaged. “At least if the Government provides us a temporary shed to take shelter for few months, we can then get the damaged house in the village repaired,” Hampavva said.
Even the residents of Kuruvinakoppa in Ron taluk, who are presently lodged in the auditorium of Kalmeshwar School in Hole Alur, say that they should be given shelter in temporary sheds. The residents of the tiny village roughly around 250 are now hoping that the administration would provide them a shed before the school reopens.
Pawadeppa B. Havadi who is the gram panchayat member from the village has appealed to the taluk officials to continue the gruel centre for at least another eight days. “Nearly 70 per cent of the houses have collapsed completely. We don’t know when the remaining will collapse because the walls and the roof are still damp,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner of Gadag N.V. Prasad said that the district administration has started erecting temporary sheds for the flood-affected people at places where it was found necessary.
“Sheds will come up at Hurlageri, Hole Alur, B.S. Beleri, Karmudi, Asuti, Bopalapur, Y.S. Hadagali and sheds will be erected in other places depending on the need,” he said.
He clarified that those willing to go back to their villages would be given four kg of rice, one kg of dal and one litre of kerosene as an immediate help. “We will be closing the gruel centres but will provide foodgrains to the people to cook on their own,” he added.