Talamari villagers cross over to Andhra Pradesh for food

They are assured of three meals a day in Kukatanur village

in the face of all odds: A woman cooking at a temporary shelter erected for the rehabilitation of flood victims outside Talamari village, on the bank of the river Tungabhadra in Raichur district. DH photo by Anand Bakshi

While Kukatanur has received support from the Andhra Pradesh government, Talamari has received close to nothing from the Raichur district administration. As a result, residents of Talamari are forced to go to Kukatanur every evening, seeking food and shelter at the camps set up there.

Both villages have been badly affected. Of the 1,080 houses in Talamari, nearly 800 have been damaged. The situation in Kukatanur is similar.
When this reporter visited the temporary shed erected for flood victims near Talamari, it was 5 pm. People were having their first meal of the day.
Many of the villagers are in a relief camp set up by AP government in Kukatanur. This is because they receive better facilities there than at the camp set up by Karnataka government.

Nabi Sab, a driver in Talamari, said he and his family shifted to the relief camp set up in Kukatanur soon after his village was affected by floods.

"AP government air-dropped food packets in Kukatanur a day after the floods. The day after the water level receded, AP government set up a relief camp there. They provide bread and milk in the morning, and rice and sambar twice a day. In Talamari we did not get anything. Helicopters carrying food packets did not reach our village at all. Gruel centre functioned here only for a day," he said. Many families stay in the village during the day, and return to the Kukatanur relief camp for shelter and food by the evening.
The disparity in providing relief materials in the two adjacent villages prompted people of Talamari to resort to violence when Congress MLA Raja Rayappa Naik and officers visited the village on October 2. The MLA and officers were assaulted. Three government vehicles were burnt and three others were damaged.

Alla Baksh of Talamari alleged the MLA had not visited the village even once, after getting elected. "Many of us have got shelter and food because of the Andhra Pradesh government and D K Aruna, MLA from Gadwala constituency, to which Kukatanur belongs. Many people of our village have relatives there. So there is no opposition to us taking shelter in their camp," he said.

The district administration sent 700 packets, each with 5 kg rice, to the village, but it was not sufficient. Jaffer Ali Patel, president of Talamari GP, said, "Totally there are 1,080 families in the village. As every house was flooded, all of them need foodgrains. I distributed the packets available. After that, the government has not cared for us. As the facilities in the neighbouring camp in AP are very good most of the villagers are going there."

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