Sans elementary care, pets at mercy of the elements

Sans elementary care, pets at mercy of the elements

Ganesh, who lost his house due to a landslide, plays with his pet Chinny, before leaving for the relief camp at Madhugundi near Kottigehara, Mudigere taluk of Chikkamagaluru district on Tuesday. dh photo/B H Shivakumar

Chinny, the three-year-old dog of Ganesh M R and Ganavi, ran behind the pickup truck for nearly 5 km from Madhugundi to the state highway near Kelagur Estate, where he gave up the chase after much cuddling. 

It took about two hours to reach Madhugundi from the nearby town of Kottigehara as the floods have cut into the roads, making the 20 km journey, including the 5 km walk, arduous. The couple, however, has been travelling an additional 10 km from the relief camp in Mudigere every alternate day to reach the village.

The floods and landslides have washed away a major part of the village, including their house, on August 9. Hundreds of acres of pristine coffee estates have been buried under silt.  

“The villagers in relief camps spend most of their days worrying about the cattle and pets. I have been coming here once every two days to feed them and be with them for a short while,” Ganesh said.

Cries in wilderness

As villagers return to relief camps, the barking of dogs rents the air. The cries of cattle from sheds can be heard for about a kilometre before one reaches the village. Some were forcing the animals into a pickup truck to send them to the house of relatives.

“The relief camp is not in a position to support cattle as it requires setting up of a shed and regular supply of fodder. Taking dogs with us is risky as a territorial dispute may ensue with the canines of the area. It’s unfair to leave them like this. But there is no choice,” Shankar H M said.

No hope of return

Many of the residents who visited the village couldn’t recognise the place that has been their home for decades. After seeing the scale of the disaster, some said they were giving up hopes of returning to the village. Many stood silently at the site where the body of Nagappa Gowda (70) was found a week after it was washed away.

Against all odds

F M D’costa, whose 15 acres of coffee plantation has been washed away by the floods, was one of the few villagers who didn’t shift to the relief camp and preferred to stay put at his house. The floodwater carrying big trees flowed within 100 metres from the house. “What should I do in the relief camp? I have to take care of the coffee plantation, if I want to repay the Rs 20-lakh loan,” he said.

As per the information from the taluk administration, 129 residents of four villages are staying in the relief camps near Mudigere. Officials said the survey to assess damaged houses was yet to be completed as many villages have remained inaccessible. “The best option for them (villagers) is to move away permanently,” an official said, but added that such a wholistic rehabilitation programme requires huge amount of funds.