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Their hope faded fast

N. Dinesh Nayak
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The walls of most of the 460 houses constructed at Kongwad village in Dharwad district have developed cracks and the ceiling leaks when it rains.
The walls of most of the 460 houses constructed at Kongwad village in Dharwad district have developed cracks and the ceiling leaks when it rains.

It was at Kongwad village in Dharwad district that the government’s ambitious Aasare scheme was formally launched on August 25, 2010, to relocate the village affected by the floods in 2009.

The beneficiaries — poor and many from Scheduled Caste communities — entered the houses with joy and hope. But their happiness did not last long. “The walls have developed cracks and the ceiling leaks when it rains. We live in constant fear,” said Sharada, the resident of Kongwad Aasare Colony.

The houses measuring 18x16 sq. ft, built on 30x50-sq. ft plot, have not been accepted by the villagers. In Kongwad, 460 houses were constructed with assistance from Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project.

Yashawant Doddamani, a resident, alleged that the contractor used substandard quality materials and did not do curing properly. Even the foundations of the houses were not strong enough, he said. “Today, the residents are in trouble but the contractor made a fortune,” he added.

Basavaraj Poojar said the roofs had to be covered with plastic sheets during monsoon to prevent leakage.

When the houses were handed over, the then Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa had announced that he would provide Rs. 25,000 for each family to make alternations, but the money was never released, Mr. Poojar said.

Irregularities have also been alleged in providing basic amenities. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act plaque shows that Rs. 26 lakh was spent on works to provide road and drainage system. But the works are invisible.

Similarly, another plaque says that Rs. 2.2 lakh was spent on social forestry in 2010. But there are hardly any trees visible. Many of the 16 solar lamps installed do not work. Even the school building is abandoned.

“After sunset, it is unsafe here for women and children, as power supply is limited to some parts of the colony,” said a resident.

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