Flood-hit Googal searches for relief

Farmer Sharanappa shows the paddy field washed away in the recent floods in Googal village of Devadurga taluk on Thursday. DH Photo/Pushkar V

In the village of Googal, located in one of Karnataka's most drought-prone taluks, the lush green fields on either side of the road catch you by surprise. But on closer inspection, one can see all is not well. Farmer Sharanappa reveals the devastation.

Showing the damage to his five fields, Sharanappa says that it will take a year and several thousand rupees to bring them back to shape. "Parihaara bandaaga kaane (will see relief when it comes)," he says.

Sharanappa is one of the farmers whose crops were washed away in the raging flood-waters of Krishna. Now, farmers like him have pinned their hopes on relief, which, all agree, is clearly inadequate.

One of his fields closest to the river is completely washed away, with huge quantities of sand resting on top of the crop. Embankments of his fields were also breached, adding to the losses.

Farmer Sharanappa walks on the paddy filed washed away due to the recent floods next to the banks of the river Krishna in Googal village of Devadurga taluk of Raichur district on Thursday. | DH Photo: Pushkar V

"Now, if government gives relief, it will be Rs 2,000-3,000 per acre. That won't cover the petrol cost for me to go to the field everyday," he quips.

While houses in Googal village were unaffected, several business establishments close to Prabhulingeshwar Temple and a Kalyana Mantapa were completely submerged.

Hotel owner Prabhan Gowda wants to know about compensation. "My hotel was underwater for 12 days. The damage caused is a few lakhs. Will I be compensated," he asks. Around 25 small businesses around the temple were similarly affected.

Hirerayakumpi, one of the worst-hit villages, is a few kilometers away.

Parvath Reddy has received government compensation but is still worried. "Government has transferred Rs 10,000 into accounts of 26 people as water entered their houses," says Reddy.

His field, where cotton plants should have been at chest height, is bare as his brother tills the land for another round of sowing. "Either the crop fails or we don't get the right price," he points out.

Fields around the famous bridge, where 12-year-old Venkatesh guided an ambulance to safety are in a shambles. However, the resilience of the people, hit by drought in 12 of the last 17 years, allows them to take the tragedy in their stride and move on.

"We had sown cotton too. Everything was washed away," Venkatesh says. "Fortunately, the water did not enter our house. Now, we will have to start sowing again." 


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