Long-pending demand of a low-lying village

SHATTERED LIFE: A woman from Turadagi village cleaning rice at the relief camp

SHATTERED LIFE: A woman from Turadagi village cleaning rice at the relief camp  

Suresh Bhat

TURADAGI (BAGALKOT DIST.): Turadagi is a relatively small village of Hungund taluk with a population of around 1,500. Located on the right bank of the Krishna, 25 km downstream of the Alamatti Dam, the village was once famous for sheep rearing and high quality jowar. However, the recent flood almost wiped it out from the map.

The low-lying village was in danger of being water logged during the flood season, but the swollen river now has ruined it. One third of the 300 and odd houses have been collapsed, while the remaining, including the school building, have been left severely damaged. Apart from large tracts of agricultural field, a portion of residential area is still under water.

Even after almost two months, most of the villagers are left with no option but to stay at the nearby relief camp that lacks basic amenities. Moreover, temporary sheds available at the camp are limited. Hence, many affected families return to their damaged houses running a risk. Soon after the flood, the district administration gave an interim relief of Rs. 1,000 each to the affected families. Foodgrains and clothes were also provided. The villagers, as told by the officials, were to get crop loss compensation within a month. However, nothing of that sort has happened so far, Sanganna Yalligutti said.

According to him, the second time the officials were seen at the village was on September 18 when Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh visited the village. The people, especially those depend on labour for their livelihood, have run out of everything. The Government should provide them either foodgrains or work, he said.

Only solace the people appear to have in the camp is abundant drinking water that is being regularly transported through tankers. However, they are living in an unhygienic condition, as the camp lacks sanitation facilities. Temporary bathrooms have been erected adjacent to their tin sheds but the sewage has no outlet.

Revenue officials had promised to erect a few makeshift toilets and bathrooms. However, their words remained unfulfilled, said Sakavva.

According to gram panchayat member Basappa Sommannavar, people of Turadagi will not settle down until their demands are permanently solved. Since 1997, they have been demanding that they be rehabilitated at an alternative place. They put forth the demand even before Chief Minister and the latter agreed to it in principle, he said.

Meanwhile, sources told The Hindu that Turadagi is one of few villages listed for permanent relocation.

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