No downpour, but it's raining miseries

Haganur is awash with floodwater, but its residents can only seek divine intervention

Of low and high spirits: With knee-deep water, people have a harrowing time on the Ramdurga-Savadatti Road in Ramdurga on Friday. DH PhotoBut the people are adamant about not shifting to the Aasare houses built for them, even when the flood water has reached their doorsteps. The farmers say the houses are too small for them and they require big houses. 

They are reluctant to move to the Aasare houses which also lack basic amenities like proper toilets and power connection. Moreover, they are demanding proper compensation for the old houses they would have to give up.

On Friday though, devotion scored over the flood worries of the villagers, with the water of River Malaprabha encircling Haganur. They took out a procession, in knee-deep water, to mark Panduranga Dindi Utsav and death anniversary of Bujalingeshwar. Bhajans, special pujas, and mass feeding marked the celebrations.

After 10,000 cusec of water was released from Navilteertha dam built across River Malaprabha, water started entering Haganur on Thursday night. Villagers took shelter at a community hall and a temple.

Haganur has 180 families with a population of around 1,200. Despite the flood situation, teachers were present at the government lower primary school which has a student strength of 75. But the children gave the classes a miss. They were either playing in the flood water or attending Dindi Utsav. Some villagers were shifting their belongings to a safer place.

‘Houses too small’

The Land Army has constructed 189 Aasare houses for the flood-affected people of Haganur, with a built-up area of 300 sq ft on a 30X50 plot for each family.

According to Kaknur Gram Panchayat Vice-President Siddappa Kulkarni, Aasare houses were not properly distributed and some families were deprived of the benefit. “Unlike urban people, farmers need big houses. But the Aasare houses are too small,” he says.

Davalsab Pinjar, who has nine members in his family, and Basavaraj Sidrayappa Kulkarni who has a family of 35 members, say that they were allotted one Aasare house each. “How can all of us stay in that small house,” they ask. They lament that flood water has damaged the crops and submerged irrigation pumpsets. The problem has been there for the last seven years.

According to Badami Tahsildar Mahesh Karjagi, nearly 70 families have shifted to Aasare houses, and 70 temporary sheds put up near the village would be removed once the other villagers shift to Aasare houses. “Houses have been allotted as per the list prepared in 2005. The Aasare houses are of good quality and electricity is the only problem,” he added.

Mid-day meals help

Ramdurga (Belgaum dist): Ashwini Talawar, a class VII student, brought home the rice given to her for the mid-day meals at school, to feed her family members, at Kilabanur on the outskirts of Ramdurga town in Belgaum district. Her mother Tulasavva Talawar could not cook anything, as flood water of River Malaprabha has inundated the kitchen. Flood water has also entered the fields on the banks of the river at Ramdurga.

People were seen wading through the flood water on the narrow streets of the village. “None of the officials came here to tell us to move to safer places. We have to stay here even in such a situation. Flood water mixed with the water in the well used for drinking purposes,” said Mallappa Talawar.

According to Ningappa Shirsangi, around 200 houses in the area are flooded. “Aasare houses have not been constructed for us and officials say no land is available for the purpose,” he said.

On Friday, flood water submerged a couple of bridges in the town. Pedestrians and vehicles had to wade through knee-deep water on the submerged roads.

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