Belagavi district struggles to make do with just 7.7% of flood relief fund sought

A file photo of an almost-submerged school building at Khemlapur village in Raibag taluk of Belagavi. Around 4,000 schools were damaged in the last year’s floods.

A file photo of an almost-submerged school building at Khemlapur village in Raibag taluk of Belagavi. Around 4,000 schools were damaged in the last year’s floods.  

As against estimated loss of ₹11,193 crore in the district, only ₹867 crore has been received

With the Centre releasing only a fraction of the financial support sought, flood relief in the State is hampered, admit officials involved in the relief work in Belagavi, one of the worst-hit districts.

An officer in the district treasury confirmed that as against the estimated loss of ₹11,193 crore in the district, relief amount of ₹867 crore had been received. “That is around 7.7% of the required amount. This is proportional to the total relief received by the State from the Centre. Of the ₹867 crore, ₹500 crore is being distributed to those who lost houses, ₹200 crore is being spent on repairing public infrastructure, and ₹167 crore has been adjusted against the money spent on rescue and relief operations,” the officer said.

“In some cases, work done on credit is yet to be reimbursed. Bills of some contractors for vehicles and those of rented community halls are yet to be paid. We are clearing them one by one based on the gram panchayats and municipal towns that had supplied accounts,” said an officer.

Schools get too little

Around 4,000 schools were damaged in the floods in 2019. “As per the Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) norms, each school should get ₹2 lakh for repairs. But according to the fund allotment, we are getting only ₹15,000 for each school. Senior officers are saying that reconstruction of each school will be taken up in due course, under different heads and not necessarily under flood relief,” said an Education Department officer.

Repairs have started in most schools, under the CRF and zilla panchayat funds, another officer said, and added that Belagavi district, for example, has received less than 10% of the relief it sought towards this. District-wise data shows that of the 2.2 lakh families affected by floods in 872 villages in Belagavi district, an ex gratia payment of ₹10,000 had been made to 1.1 lakh families.

The kin of 29 of the 32 people who died have got compensation of ₹5 lakh each. Two victims had no legal representative who could claim the money and payment in another case is stuck owing to delay in DNA test to confirm the identity of the victim.

Damaged public infrastructure include 24,000 km of power lines, 6,000 km of roads, 3,367 government schools and other buildings, and 1,146 drinking water schemes. The loss to these infrastructures is estimated at ₹2,149 crore. But the amount fixed for their repair is ₹200 crore. The rest will be taken up under annual plans in the coming years, said an officer.

Waiting for Budget

“The government has decided that the houses will be built as per the annual district allotment under the Rajiv Gandhi Housing Corporation norms over five years. Roadworks will be taken up under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, and taluk and district main road schemes. Work on wider and longer roads will be taken up under the Central road fund and rural connectivity scheme. Minor repairs will be taken up under the panchayat schemes or the local area development schemes for legislators. A clearer picture will emerge after the State Budget on March 5,” said the officer.

Only 8.5% for State

Across the State, as many as 91 people died and 3,400 animals got washed away in the floods in 2019. Crops on 7.5 lakh hectares were damaged. As many as 2.5 lakh families lost their houses and nearly 22,000 km of roads got damaged.

“The State government had sought a relief of ₹35,160 crore. But the Centre released around ₹3,000 crore. That is around 8.5% percent of the estimated loss. We have no option but to work around it,” said an officer in the Disaster Management Department in the Revenue ministry.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 10:30:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/belagavi-district-struggles-to-make-do-with-just-77-of-flood-relief-fund-sought/article30832691.ece

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