'Temporary sheds' don't amuse flood victims

Ismail Saab and three-year-old Anjum at a relief camp in Konnur village of Gadag district. DH Photo/Pushkar V

Lakhs of people who lost their homes to floods will now have to take refuge in 10x10 temporary sheds with few basic amenities before they are properly rehabilitated.

While the residents are sceptical about such shelters even before they are constructed, the authorities are scampering to find land for these sheds before the victims are asked to move from schools, community halls and other buildings where they are currently housed. As of now, 587 relief camps are operational in the state. 

At Konnur in Gadag district — where the discharge from Navilutheertha dam constructed across Malaprabha river displaced more than 250-300 families — residents have already erected sheds inside the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) premises. Cows, buffaloes and other domestic animals are tethered behind the main warehouse of APMC, while over a hundred families live in the empty space to its right.

“There are no facilities here. We have to go outside the premises to answer the call of nature. We have been living in the open with kids and elders for more than a week now,” said Yallappa Bhovi, whose house and crops in five acres of land were lost to the floods.

Pundalik, who is aware of the temporary sheds being constructed, said they might be forced to live in such structures for two to three months. “Nobody has assured us of pucca houses yet. By the looks of things, we might be left with no option than the metal sheds for a while,” he said.

At Pattadakal in Bagalkot district, efforts are on to construct such shelters with workers flattening the land over which metal roofing sheets are already in place.

“How are we supposed to live inside such boxes,” wondered Gurappa Thotger. Officials in Gadag taluk panchayat acknowledged that finding land to build such shelters for residents of more than 70 relief camps was a challenge. “We are coordinating with the district administration to identify land for these shelters,” an official said.

K B Korishettar, tahsildar of Nargund taluk panchayat where Konnur is located, said that while the construction of some sheds is on, they were still looking for land for others. “We are building one such temporary shed at  the APMC. We have approached the deputy commissioner, as finding land is difficult,” he said.

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