Flood of promises fail to keep hope afloat

No new house built in Mustoor

For over four decades, the people of Mustoor village in Ranebennur taluk have been victims of constant flooding in Tungabhadra and Kumudvati rivers.

Every time, the State Government failed to keep its promise of shifting them to a new location and provide them Aasare houses. The villagers fear there may be another flood this year.

The 300 families of this village were included in the Aasare programme and the land for their relocation was also purchased by the government. Philanthropists came forward to provide funds for the construction of houses, but they later withdrew their offer. The villagers’ hope of relocating to an Aasare house at a safer place has remained unfulfilled.

During the 2008 floods, the State government collected crores of rupees as donations to provide relief to the flood victims. It has now backtracked on its promise of providing Aasare houses to the flood victims.

Now, the villagers are willing to move out to their present locations only if houses are constructed on a par with those provided to the flood victims of 2008.

10 floods in 45 years

Over the last 45 years, Mustoor has been hit by floods 10 times. In 1967 and 1979, seven persons drowned due to floods and over 50 cattle heads were washed away.
Leaving the village during the floods and returning to find their shelter having been washed away has become a common feature here.

In 1967, when the village experienced floods for the first time there was talk of shifting the people.

Till 1992, no action was taken to shift them. That year, when there was severe flooding in the village, the district administration purchased 16 acres in the vicinity and initiated work on relocating the people. But the work did not progress as expected.

No relocation

In 2008, under the Aasare programme of the BJP government, it purchased 10 acres of land in addition to the 16 acres. It was decided to construct 300 houses, for which the government signed an agreement with the Karnataka Contractors Association. However, the Association backed out from the agreement and therefore there was no relocation.

“Sites were distributed to the beneficiaries and they were asked to construct their own houses. Power, water and roads have been provided,” said Deputy Commissioner H G Srivara. However, one-and-a-half years after distributing the sites, drinking water and roads have still not been provided. So no family has moved to the new location.

“The Government has constructed 130 houses in Shakara village of Haveri taluk, but we have been given only sites. This amounts to discrimination,” a resident of Mustoor said.

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