Cement pipe is their home!

Dalit Venkataravanappa’s family that has been living in a water pipe  for the last two years at Gantamvaripalli, on the outskirts of Bagepalli. DH PHOTOVenkataravanappa, a dalit, lost his home to the road development project and was forced to make home inside a pipe, which has since served as a shelter to his family comprising his wife and a teenage daughter.

Two years back efforts were underway to convert the NH 7 into a four-lane road. Moreover, this new road project had to pass through Gantamvaripalli and hence the dalit keri situated on the roadside had to be shifted.

The dalit keri mainly consisted of houses made of tiles, coconut frond and hay. Thus, at the time of road widening the officials concerned fixed the amount for each of the houses in the keri. Moreover, the compensation amount for each of the house did not cross Rs 50,000. Venkataravanappa was given only Rs 27,000 as compensation.

A coolie, Venkataravanappa could neither buy a site nor a house with the compensation amount and finally ended up using the amount, only leaving his family in utter distress. It is in this condition, his wife Venkatalakshmamma decided to make the pipe their home. Their daughter Umadevi, a class 7 student had to discontinue her studies owing to displacement.“This pipe is vulnerable to heat, dust, wind and rain. When my parents go out for work, I need to guard this pipe just like a graveyard,” rued Umadevi. Eventhough, this pipe is located right in front of the GP  office nothing has been done to rehabilitate Venkataravanappa’s and other dalit families, who have been rendered homeless in the name of road development.

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