BELLARY, September 28: People of Hatcholi village in Sirguppa taluk were promised new houses after the floods in September 2009 left their dwellings in ruins. However, four years down the line, the promise of new abodes under the much-publicised Aasare scheme remains that — just a promise. Most people have repaired their old homes and continue to live in them.
This correspondent, on visiting the village, found that those who could afford it, reconstructed their houses on their own. Others just repaired their old homes the best they could. The poorest continue to lead a life in the tin sheds that were erected in 2009.
The village residents complained that the Aasare houses constructed at the new colony are of substandard quality. “The houses have been constructed on black cotton soil and several of them are not steady as the foundation is of poor quality,” said Khader Sab, a resident of Hatcholi.
Hatcholi was among the 18 villages on the banks of the Tungabhadra that was severely affected by the worst floods witnessed in the recent past. After the deluge, G. Janardhan Reddy, the then Minister for Infrastructure and Development, who is now in jail on charges of illegal mining, roped in mine owners to construct around 5,307 houses. The district administration had to acquire the land required besides providing basic civic amenities like roads, drains, electricity and water.
At Hatcholli, V.S. Lad and Sons, owned by brothers Anil and Santosh Lad, Minister of State for Infrastructure, had taken up the responsibility of constructing 1,144 houses. However, 18 months after this promise was made, construction activities have come to a grinding halt as the required funds have not been released on time.
Still in progress
Then the State government entrusted the construction of the remaining houses (495 houses) to the Karnataka Slum Development Board, which is still in the works.
“For various reasons, there has been a delay in construction of the houses. With no other alternative, we have been forced to live in temporary sheds. None of the elected representatives and officials seem to be bothered about our plight,” complained Mukkanna, a village elder of Hatcholi village.
Apart from Hatcholi, houses constructed in Bagewadi and a couple of other villages have remained unoccupied. The reasons being the new colonies are far away from the main village and lack basic infrastructure and civic amenities.
In 14 villages, houses have been handed over to the beneficiaries and they have started residing there. However, they complain of lack of basic infrastructure facilities. “There are no pucca drains, roads and drinking water supply. We have no other option but to live here,” Manjamma, a resident said.