Two months on, Gokak flood victims still to get shelter

Last Updated 10 October 2019, 19:10 IST

Two months after the floods levelled several houses in Gokak, there are no takers for the tin sheds constructed here. Even though several families have moved from one relief camp to the next, the state of the sheds has forced them to avoid living there.

Set up at one of the hillocks surrounding Gokak beside the Range Forest Office on forest land, the tin sheds turn baking hot under the sun in the semi-arid town. Though 61 tin sheds were planned for construction, only 30 are complete.

Another reason for non-cooperation is the relief amount. People who lost their houses completely say that the compensation of Rs 5 lakh promised to them will be reduced by Rs 50,000 if they reside in sheds.

Currently, as many as 40 families are housed in an under-construction hostel for backward classes and minorities. They have occupied most of the rooms fit for living as work continued to complete the building. Taluk officials have now set a deadline to evict the premises and occupy the tin sheds.

Speaking to DH, Hanumavva Melmatti said the shed conditions are unfit for living. “There is not even a proper floor. The tin sheds will grow increasingly hot through the year and will be unbearable a few months from now,” she said. Her family, however, was credited Rs 1 lakh as compensation as their house collapsed completely.

Eshwar Jolad, who also lost his house, said that they were not ready to move to the tin sheds as the government would reduce their compensation amount by Rs 50,000. “We would rather have the 10-month house rent credited to our account,” he said.

About half of the residents in the makeshift relief camp at Gokak are homeless. Ilyas Vantemani alleged that the owner of the house he rented refused to sign papers that proved his tenancy due to which he didn’t even receive the Rs 10,000 ex-gratia.

Ramesh Melmatti said that though authorities have compiled a list of the homeless, they are yet to receive any assurances.

“If we approach the municipal office, they ask us to enquire with the tahsildar. At tahsildar’s office, we are often shooed away,” he complained.

When contacted, Prakash Holeppagol, tahsildar, Gokak, said that flooring and other works at the tin sheds will be completed in a few days. On complaints of no relief by residents in rented houses, he said that most of the genuine victims have been compensated and authorities were cross-checking documents of those still seeking relief.

(Published 10 October 2019, 16:57 IST)

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