Has no regular supply of drinking water
Villages in Hungund taluk, in the north Karnataka district of Bagalkot, are in a sorry state following heavy rain in October.
People The Observer interviewed complained of spread of mosquito-borne diseases and inaction by the panchayats.
Mahantesh M.B., who cultivates sugarcane and sunflower in Chittaragi village, said: “When it rains heavily, the crops get damaged. My sugarcane cultivation has suffered more than 75% damage. A sugarcane factory is located 25 km from here. One tonne fetches me around Rs 2,200.”
M.D. Vaidya another resident, said: “Panchayat officials come to visit the affected areas once or twice every week. The cement shop located next to my medical store has suffered heavy damage. We’ve sent a letter to the local MLA informing him of the situation, but have not got a positive reply.”
Seetimani village has poor drainage and no assured drinking water supply. Its houses suffered heavy damage because poor construction material was used. Residents said their cash crops were destroyed. Three persons succumbed to malaria in a span of one week.
Ravi Janaki, a mason, said: “I have lived in Seetimani for almost 32 years. The situation hasn’t improved much. Every day, we are bitten by mosquitoes. It becomes impossible to sit more than six hours.”
Vinayak Desai, another farmer shared: “My field spans 20 acres. For an acre of sugarcane cultivation, I earn around Rs 1 lakh. I applied to the revenue office for compensation a few months ago. Revenue officials claim to have done the paper work, but I have not received any payment.”
Vijay Gagan Dharmar, a priest, complained: “A water filter was to be installed last year, but it’s still not present. Our hopes are in ruin. Every week, the panchayat claims it is sending its officials.”
Renuka Angadi, an assistant engineer working at the Chittaragi Gram Panchayat, informed The Observer: “Farmers are supposed to receive compensation from the state government; the panchayat has no role to play. We have been working consistently to provide good roads, electricity and water to the village.
“The village consists of around 600 houses, almost 80% of which have suffered losses. The higher authorities have only asked us to fetch the survey numbers and we have adequately done it. The last submission was made around two months ago.”
Vaibhav Desai, a civil engineer who works for the Jain Ramthal Project, said: “Our company has installed a drip irrigation plant, which is extremely helpful for the villagers as they can draw water from the pumphouse. This requires a lot of electricity. We are asking for regular electricity supply from the state government.”