‘These houses are unsuitable for humans’

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Bagalkot, September 24:  Four years ago, when Alur village in Badami taluk was devastated by floods, the then government showered the people with promises of rehabilitation. Four years on, they know it was just empty promises.

Of the 59 villages of Bagalkot district that were proposed to be relocated, Alur was one of the worst affected that had thousands leaving their homes almost overnight.

The previous Bharatiya Janata Party government launched the Aasare scheme under which pucca houses were proposed to be built with the help of non-governmental organisations.

“Just look at this Aasare colony here, and tell me are these houses fit for humans to dwell? Our huts that were washed away were far better than these houses,” says Hanumanth Talwar indicating a house in the colony in the village.

The colony neither has proper drinking water facilities nor pucca roads. Over 500 families here depend on only three borewells. Some houses have developed large cracks, while others have completely collapsed.

Yellawwa Madar, a woman who is living in one of the Aasare houses, has placed a tarpaulin on the roof so that she can quickly spread it across when it rains. “Have you ever seen people covering concrete roofs with tarpaulin?” she said. There is an overhead tank, which has no water.

He said many of the village residents had adequate space for a cattle shed, but the ‘Aasare’ houses do not have any such provision.

Hanumanth Neralakere, gram panchayat member, said: “When the village residents met the previous tahsildar and the former Bharatiya Janata Party MLA to seek help to repair the houses, they said that since the houses were given to them in charity, they had no right to demand more facilities.”

The Aasare houses here were built not only by the government, but also by some Mangalore-based NGOs.

Highlighting another crucial aspect, Mr. Neralakere said the government had not considered the number of family members before allotment. “The allotted houses are too small to accommodate a joint family of more than six or seven people,” he said.

What is more, only about 50 per cent of families have title deeds.

Ms. Madar, for instance, has occupied the house without a title deed.

Deputy Commissioner Manoj Jain said he has already constituted a committee comprising of the additional deputy commissioner and the assistant commissioner to submit a detailed report about the status of the houses built under Aasare scheme.

Asked about the dilapidated condition of houses, he said there weren’t separate funds for it and he would seek additional funds from the government for the purpose.

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