Nine months after floods damaged their homes, around 40%of the families in Satti village have still not received compensation. In contrast, ineligible people in Tirth village have been paid compensation.
In August 2019, floods hit the northern parts of Karnataka. Belagavi, Bagalkot, Yadgiri, and Bijapur were some of the major districts which were severely affected. All these are in the vicinity of the Krishna River Project and are prone to floods every year.
Athani, the sugar capital of the Belagavi district, was one of the worst affected. Acres of sugarcane plantations were destroyed and with it, the farmers lost their only source of livelihood. They also lost their houses and belongings to the floodwaters. Some houses developed cracks, for some an entire portion of the house was lost while for others, it was as if the house never existed. To compensate for this damage, the Karnataka government decided to give Rs. 10,000 to the flood-affected families and Rs. 5 lakh for those who lost their homes.
Gulab Abas Dange is a mechanic who lives in Satti village of Athani Taluk. He earns about Rs 4000-Rs. 5000 a month which is sufficient to meet the needs of his family. When the floods came, he along with his family rushed for safety. After the floodwaters receded, he returned, saw his house and said, “I was devastated.” The expenditure exceeded and it became really difficult for him to make ends meet.
He calculated the expenses- which included new material for rebuilding the house, utensils, paint, and medicines, in addition to this was the damage to his shop- and said that he spent more than a lakh, and all he received was Rs. 10,000. He is still one of the lucky ones to have received it.
In the same village lives Reshma, whose house was damaged much more than Dange’s, yet she did not get any aid nor did she receive any other sort of compensation for the damage to her house. She said that the officials who came to the survey, glanced at the house, took pictures and left after which they never returned.
Around fifty-one villagers have signed a form asking officials to re-survey their houses as 40% of the families have not received any sort of relief. Some villagers have taken an initiative and are trying to resolve the matter.
The Tehsildar of Athani, Shri Dundappa H. Komar said, there are many problems peculiar to the Athani taluk. First, these villages come under the Hipparagi dam project, for which the villagers have been paid compensation. Secondly, villagers refuse to leave as they want to be near their fields as a matter of safety and security even though alternate land has been allotted. Thirdly, a lot of illegal transactions and cases of bribery have come to light. Because of all these reasons, the District Collector has blocked payment of compensation for the entire taluk.
The only solution which the Tehsildar has come up with is to identify the people who have been compensated earlier and recover from people who have illegally taken the money. By the time this would be done, monsoons will again return, floods will reoccur and this endless cycle of compensation would continue.