Floods push life down in the dumps for farm workers

Floods push life down in the dumps for farm workers

Representative image

Workers in the coffee plantations of the district face a bleak future. Thousands of them, rendered jobless after their workplaces went under water, are headed to their native places.

These labourers, mostly from the North Karnataka districts, used to reside in the line houses of the coffee estates and these houses now have no occupants.

The pepper and cardamom gardens too wear a deserted look. Not just the workers. Their employers, the planters, too are at their wit's end, thanks to the large-scale losses.

Planters in peril too

Most of the estate owners have left for their relatives' houses. The labourers have been without work in the last couple of months due to the showers and the resultant uprooting of the trees. Earlier, their hands used to be full with work like weeding, sprinkling pesticides, putting fertilisers to the trees, plucking the coffee berries and so on. 

One of the workers said it will take four years for normalcy to return. He said going back to their native places was a worse proposition as there is drought there.

Hospital access cut off

The people in the district are also up against another problem. With connectivity to the neighbouring Dakshina Kannada district cut off due to landslides at 20 places on the Madikeri-Sullia stretch of the national highway since August 10, they are not able to reach hitech hospitals for treatment of major illnesses.

Only small clinics function here. With rain and landslides continuing, things are not likely to improve any sooner.

Earlier, a commute from Madikeri to Sullia would take 45 minutes. Now, it is a four-and-a-half arduous journey through the circuitous and narrow route via Mekeri, Bhagamandala, Karike, Panattur and Halatti.

The drivers of ambulances are having a tough time ferrying patients in need of critical care.