'D' in Deepavali is darkness for flood victims

The families of Pandappa Kumbar and Hanumant Kumbar who lost their houses due to floods in Krishna river take shelter at a bus stop at Katagur in Hunagund taluk, Bagalkot district.

Deepavali has not brought light into the lives of flood-affected people in the district this time round. The families which have lost their houses, crops and other properties due to floods in Krishna, Malaprabha and Ghataprabha rivers in the district are still in agony.

A majority of the flood victims were not in a mood to celebrate the festival of lights. Many families which lost their houses in floods have taken shelter in bus stands, government schools and other places. Hence, this time, they celebrated the festival symbolically. 

The families of Pandappa Kumbar and his brother Hanumant Kumbar at Katagur in Hunagund taluk lost their houses due to the Krishna floodwater in August and nine members of these families have taken shelter in the bus stop at the village since August. 

Expressing their agony, Pandappa said, “Our houses collapsed when the Krishna floodwater entered the village in August. Since then, we have taken shelter in the bus stop. Initially, the authorities showed a little concern towards us. Now, we have been forgotten.”

These families celebrated Deepavali in a simple manner in the bus stop itself. They have covered a part of the bus stop with a tarpaulin sheet to protect themselves from rain and wind and prepare food using firewood outside the bus stop. There is no separate bathroom for them. 

Pandappa said it had become difficult to take bath for members of the two families. Women bathe at night, he added. More than 10 other flood-affected families are staying at the government school teachers’ quarters in the same village.

A woman member of a flood-affected family said, “Every year, Ayyappa Swami devotees take shelter at the same quarters for performing various religious rituals. We have been told to vacate the quarters for the devotees.”

Shantavva Koppad of Kajagall village lost her shed in an earlier flood and is residing in the school building in the village. Shantavva said a temporary shed was erected for her. Since then, she is residing in the shed. However, the new shed too collapsed in the August flood. She has no proper house for the past 12 years, Shantavva added.

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