After deluge, flood of migration in Bellary

State Governments promise on relief has not turned into action on ground

After deluge, flood of migration in Bellary

Flood victims outside their damaged home at Sriguppa village in Bellary district on Monday. PTI

When the rains came and the water level in the Tungabhadra and Hagari rivers swelled and spilled over the banks, swallowing huts and brick-built houses, the people took refuge on treetops and other sturdier buildings. But as the gushing and swirling water entered the villages, devouring everything that stood in its way, the people ran for their lives.

Two months back, Bellary was declared drought-hit. At that time, the people of Siruguppa taluk made do without much water. Now, with water being the cause of their miseries, they have left their villages where their homesteads once stood.

In Matur village, only two brick-built houses, out of a total of 110, have survived the floods. The people have fled to nearby villages or to the taluk headquarters.

The situation is not very different in Hachcholi village where about a thousand homes stood before 80 per cent of them were flattened in the flood. With no roof over their heads, Nagarajappa Sajjan and Sharanamma, along with their four children, trekked through muddy swamps to reach their relative’s house in Kautala village in Adoni taluk of Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh. Kautala is about 20 km from Hachcholli.

They lost the paddy crop grown over 24 acres. Sajjan now finds no reason to live in Hachcholi.

Camping on road

Hundreds of others in the region are camping on the road connecting Siruguppa and Mantralaya. Sridharagadde and Matur, the worst affected villages, wear a deserted look.
“For the last three days, we have not been able to change our clothes”, said Umapathi of Sridharagadde village.

The villagers have experienced the vagaries of nature earlier. The last time Hachcholi was affected by floods was in 1992. “At that time, the damage caused was not as severe as this time,” recalled Channabasavaswamy of Hachcholli.

Part of the reason for some villagers’ decision to flock to other villages and towns, even to nearby Andhra Pradesh, is the apathetic attitude of the State Government whose promises on relief, rescue and rehabilitation operations have not turned into action on the ground.

With little or no relief coming their way, the people are having to fend for themselves as best as they can. Food packets were airdropped last Friday, but most fell in the water. The next day, some trucks passed by, throwing the packets which most villagers could not gather.

No tarpaulins were supplied, so the people took out their own to put them up on wooden stilts to sleep under them in the night. The disastrous flood have flattened standing crops in the taluk, leaving middle-class farmers wondering how they would fend themselves in the months to come.

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