Drinking water, a luxury here

Workers charging Rs 6,000 to clean a house in Mantralaya

Forget food, not even a drop of clean drinking water is available in the flood-hit Mantralaya. Eateries, commercial establishments and houses in this pilgrim centre are badly affected by the floods. The shopkeepers have thrown out the soaked stocks and are busy cleaning the shops.

The Mutt has opened its dinning hall from Friday but is feeding only its staff and the villagers. It does not expect any visitors for the next two to three months. A well in the vicinity has been cleaned to draw water for cooking purpose.

Cleaning business

Cleaning has assumed the proportion of a money-making business in Mantralaya. Workers are demanding Rs 5,000 to 6,000 to clean one house, according to Narasimha, a staffer of the Mutt.

Rajagopalachar, personal secretary to Mutt’s swamiji is supervising the cleaning operation. He said the regular cleaners of the mutt are not available as they are busy cleaning their own houses.

“We have hired workers from neighbouring villages and paying them Rs 200 per day. Going by the local rate, the wage is very high. About seven feet of slush is deposited in every house or shop, with shards of glass, snakes and what not,” he said. The guest house on Raichur road, owned by Karnataka government too was marooned in the flood waters. The compound wall of the building has collapsed. Ramaswamy, an attender at the guest house, said all the 33 rooms and a hall with a capacity to house 50 people were occupied on the day the water entered the guest house.

Rs 20 crore loss

“By 10 pm last Thursday the entire groundfloor was filled with water. All of us went upstairs and survived. We did not have food and water for 36 hours. Neither  could we get food packets dropped from helicopter.” The guest house is maintained by Public Works Department. Mandal Revenue Officer Shankarappa said that as per the initial assessment, the loss of property in the town is estimated at Rs 20 crore.
Nagarjuna Reddy owns a TV showroom on Raichur Road in the town. Electronics goods worth lakhs of rupees were destroyed as water gushed into the premises. The tale of  Mohammed Rafi of M R Electronics is no different. Majority of the houses too bore the brunt of swollen Tungabhadra. While those who lived in two-storeyed buildings moved to first floor, the rest ran in search of a safe shelter. Dheerendra Achar Goggi, a priest in the Raghavendra Swamy Mutt, lives in the quarters provided by the mutt. His house was completely submerged in water. His wife and mother were stranded for a few hours before he managed shift them to a nearby village. He returned to the town after the water receded. Now he is busy cleaning his house.

Connectivity

The distance between Raichur and Mantralaya is only 46 kms. Travelling from one place to another is a Herculean task as the bridge across Tungabhadra river is damaged near Madhavaram in Andhra Pradesh.

The visitors can travel by vehicle up to Hanumapura, located on the border between the two states. From there they have to walk on the railway track (connecting Raichur and Mantralaya) for about 2 kms to reach Tungabhadra, a village in Andhra Pradesh.
From there the autorickshaw is the only mode of transport to Mantralaya, 14 kms away.

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