Flood victims prefer rebuilding broken houses

Residents of Janawad village in Belagavi district rebuild their houses which were washed away in the August floods. They continue to build their house very close to the barrage. | DH Photo: Pushkar V

Soon after the floodwaters in Krishna Command Area receded, many who lost their homes have returned to their villages and started rebuilding their houses from scratch.

Despite the looming threat of another flood, the villagers have refused to shift to the sites allotted to them. The area where sites for the displaced are allotted is deserted and covered with vegetation.

Not one house has come up at Zero Point, where land was allotted to residents of Janawad, Mahishawadi and Nandeshwar villages in Athani taluk as part of the rehabilitation of those affected by Almatti dam.

Another threat has ebbed any residual interest to shift here as surveys indicate that even the alternate sites will be underwater when the state decides to increase the dam height.

Located right beside the Hipparagi barrage is Janawad village, which is left with no power, no water supply and no roads after floods washed away almost all the houses in the north-eastern part of the village.

Despite widespread devastation, no tin sheds have been built, forcing the residents to rebuild such shelters for themselves.

Sangappa Byadagi said that around 100-120 houses were completely damaged in a half kilometre stretch as the swollen Krishna River carved its own path close to the barrage and decimated the village. “We can’t shift to the sites provided at Zero Point - where Janawad, Mahishwadi and Nandeshwar will be shifted - as there are no facilities there. Moreover, all our land is here,” he said.

Though money was sanctioned to build houses at Zero Point, it was not sufficient due to which no houses came up, Yuvaraj Badiger said, adding that they were taking a risk by building houses at the same spot.

At Zero Point, save for the ongoing construction of a water tank, bus-shelter and grama panchayat offices, there is no trace of human habitation. “We started working on the tank two years ago,” said an employee under the condition of anonymity, as it was still under construction. About a km away works are on for Nandeshwar grama panchayat building, following which houses are expected to come up.

Even the signboards for these new villages are surrounded by wild thorny shrubs, indicating that successive governments did not bother with the threats faced by villagers and urged them to move.

Recently, the threat of submergence was highlighted during the visit of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, and his deputy Laxman Savadi, who hails from this constituency.

Sources in Athani taluk administration said that the issue has been brought to their notice recently and steps are on to identify and allot new sites for these villages, despite a shortage of government land.

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