Caste Discrimination in Karnataka flood relief operations
Posted by samathain on November 9, 2009
It is the poor and the landless who deserve most help during these natural calamities. However, even simple gruel is not being served to the poor in the name of them not having Id cards of local areas !!! We don’t think anybody should be turned away from gruel centers. Distributing relief from religious centers like matts and temples is highly discriminatory. Aren’t there government schools and government offices ? Even in relief work, one should not discriminate based on caste and religion. Government is not going to have funds to rebuild houses for every one. That is understandable. As the floods affected everyone, rich and poor alike, irrespective of caste or religion. Instead of allowing for usual corruption and influence in implementing welfare schemes, government should give a fair chance to everyone who fulfills the eligibility criteria. Government should really consider building houses for the affected using open and honest lottery. US does the same with respect to much coveted Green Cards by having lottery system to give a chance to people to immigrate irrespective of skills or income.
Red Cross leading NGOs to arrange relief for flood affected people in north karnataka. U can reach 4 details @ +91-80-22264205
Source: The Hindu
Caste discrimination in rehabilitation work alleged
‘Help from private agencies should be channelled through Government’
Bangalore: On what basis did some families in the flood-hit districts of north Karnataka get a compensation of Rs. 1,500 for a destroyed house, while others got up to Rs. 30,000 even when the nature of construction and extent of built area was equal?
Caste discrimination was at the root of many such discrepancies in rehabilitation work in Bijpur, Bellary, Gulbarga and other districts, alleged persons from these areas in their testimonies at a public hearing organised by Human Rights Forum for Dalit Liberation (HRFDL) here on Saturday.
They listed discriminations of various kinds: in compensation given for destroyed houses and crops, restricted access to gruel centres, barring entry into rehabilitation centres when they are in religious places such as temples, and so on. “They give money to those who have got it once, leaving out poor people like me,” said Durgamma from Hospet taluk in Bellary district.
Kamala Bai from Karjol in Bijapur district said the Dalits and the poor got a raw deal even though the former Minister Govind Karjol hailed from her village.
P. Ramesh from Bijapur alleged that the district administration had used the floods as an excuse to demolish two slums.
“Rather than help rebuild our houses, whatever remained our houses was destroyed without any notice,” he said.
Basavaraj Kowthal, convenor of HRFDL, objected to the rehabilitation work being done through maths and other religious organisations as it led to caste discrimination. He demanded that help for rehabilitation from private agencies be channelled through the Government. Justice A.J. Sadashiva, who heads the panel set up to probe discrimination against the Scheduled Castes, said that problems in rehabilitation should be corrected rather than stopped.
He said that caste barriers should be done away with while rebuilding villages and people from various castes should not be segregated in allotment of houses and sites.
Gruel centres fail to satiate the hungry
Source : The Hindu
Pregnant women and children worst-affected
Gruel centre at Mandrali abruptly was closed down on Friday
Migrant workers have not received any relief or food from the authorities
— Photo: Sudipto Mondal
A long wait: Flood victims in Mandrali village of Kadvad gram panchayat wait for a team from a local NGO to bring them food after the gruel centre was closed by the district administration.
KARWAR: After providing exactly seven lunches and seven dinners, the district administration has concluded that Mandrali village’s flood-affected residents have had enough “free food” and must fend for themselves from now on. (Breakfast is not part of the deal at relief centers in Uttara Kannada district.)
Fourteen insipid and low-calorie meals are all that the 150 flood victims here managed to get before the gruel centre here was abruptly closed down on Friday — seven days after it was started. Official sources told The Hindu that of the remaining 17 centers in the district, many more will be closed in the next two days.
When The Hindu reached Mandrali at 2.30 p.m. on Friday, its famished residents barely had energy to talk and were eagerly waiting for the Karwar Diocesan Development Council, a local NGO, to bring them food.
“We have not eaten anything since last night. The gruel centre was our only source of sustenance,” said Renuka B. Kathimare amid the cries of her three hungry children.
But even as the residents here lamented the loss of their gruel centre, they unanimously agreed that the food, when supplied, was barely edible.
Two meals a day comprising of a watery dal and lumpy rice is what is served. The gruel centre in the Kothar area of Majali Gram Panchayat, which supports 380 people, received 12 kg of dal on October 4 and 5 and only 10 kg the next day. But since October 7, the centre has been receiving only eight kg or 21.05 gm of dal per person.
The only vegetables, for the record, are tomatoes and onions — four kilos of each go into the cooking of a mass meal. Each person gets 10.5 gm of onions and the same quantity of tomatoes in each meal.
The first meal at the centers is served at 1.30 p.m. every day. “By this time, we have a storm in our stomachs and are giddy with hunger,” said Ullas P. Kotarkar a resident whose house was washed away in the floods.
“Only two of my younger children (aged one and four) get a glass of diluted milk in the morning. The other two (aged six and nine) do not get anything,” said Meenakshi Vivek Talekar (30).
This is because, as per the rules, only children below five years of age are eligible for milk. Migrant colonies, with their flimsy houses, bore the full brunt of the disaster. But as the workers, mostly from districts in north Karnataka, do not hold domicile documents, they have not received any relief or food.
Venkatesh Bovi (38), a construction worker hailing from Gadag, said that he tried to sneak into a gruel centre with his family of six a few days ago. But he was chased away by the officials there since he did not have any identification papers,” he claimed.
Deputy Commissioner N.S. Chennappagowda maintains that the district had no shortage of funds.
“But where are these funds going?” asked Ramesh N. Gowda of the Taluk Vokkaligara Sangha.
Waiting to encash their cheques
Source : The Hindu
Compensation cheques for house collapse yet to be realised
On their own: Parasappa Madar and his family in front of their make-shift shelter near Shirabadagi village in Bagalkot district.
SHIRABADAGI (BAGALKOT DISTRICT): The steel frames which Parasappa Madar used for sericulture a few years ago has become handy for him now. In the absence of temporary sheds for shelter, the steel frames, torn plastic sheets and a blanket now form the roof of the temporary shelter he has built for his family.
Parasappa has been living with his wife Matangi and three children in this shelter for almost a month now. To add to his woes, he has been suffering from stomach pain for the last few weeks. Although the doctors have given him medicines, the pain remains.
Moreover, the compensation cheque of Rs. 37,000 given to him for house damage is yet to be credited into his bank account.
Scores of residents of Shirabadagi village in Badami taluk of Bagalkot district have similar problems. At present, there are 96 sheds near the Shirabadagi village, which were set up after several houses collapsed during the flooding of the Malaprabha in 2007. Several people living in the sheds generously shared their temporary houses with other recent flood-hit families. Yet, there are still many who require shelter. Even after a month, the temporary sheds are still in the process of being “set up”.
However, the residents seem to be satisfied with the foodgrains, essential commodities and healthcare that have been provided.
But they wonder why despite having bank accounts, the compensation cheques could not be encashed.
Out of a drought and into the flood
Source: The Hindu
Migrant workers from North Karnataka have been dealt another cruel blow
Migrant workers are not eligible for compensation
They are not getting jobs as works have stopped
— Photo: sudipto mondal
Left in the lurch: Migrant labourers from north Karnataka wait for work in front of the Karwar Urban Bank.
KARWAR: It is 6.30 a.m. on Friday and a large group of men and women gather in front of the Karwar Urban Bank. Their trademark saris and jewellery, dhotis and turbans say that they are from north Karnataka. “We are waiting here in the hope that some contractor will give us work,” explains Girijowwa (38) from Gajendragada in Gadag. She says that group has spent the last seven days waiting for jobs.
“There is no work. All construction work has stopped. Come tomorrow,” Prashant Bovi a middle-aged contractor tells the crowd milling around him. The disappointed workers silently scatter.
A natural calamity is no great leveller. Take the impoverished workforce of migrant labour from north Karnataka, for example. The drought in their home villages drove them to Karwar in search of work. Here, they fell victim to the fury of the monsoon and the floods that devastated the coastal region.
According to Yamunappa Kotudi (48), who owns an eight acre farm in Bagalkot: “My entire crop of jowar withered in the drought.” In early September, he and his family of five members migrated to Habbuwada on the outskirts of Karwar, with only a bag of jowar and rice.
Outside his partially destroyed hut, his wife is drying some sodden jowar in the sun, helped by their three scantily clad children aged 10, 9 and six.
There are several small clusters of thatched huts spread across the area, flimsily constructed on empty plots and along drains. Those along a large storm water drain were the worst affected by the floods.
No food, no relief
Yamunapur Benkathi, a migrant worker from Bagalkot, says that some officials came to the colony in a jeep a few days ago.
“They asked me if I had a ration card or titles to the land on which this hut is built and I said I did not.” No official has since visited, he says.
Later, when asked about compensation for migrant labourers, Deputy Commissioner N.S. Chennappagowda told The Hindu: “They will be compensated, but they must have some identification papers to show they are from this district.”
The migrant labourers of Habbuwada, who are amongst the worst affected by the flood, are thus outside the compensation net.
Says Venkatesh Bovi (50): “Nobody has bothered to come and even ask us if we are dead or alive.”
Mr. Bovi and the other residents say that they had nothing to eat for several days after the floods. One migrant worker, too ashamed to identify himself, says that after two days of starvation he was forced to beg for food. He says that he owns 10 acres of land in Gulbarga.
“So what if we are not eligible for compensation? The officials could have at least provided us with food,” says Shivaji (35), from Bijapur. In fact when Venkatesh Bovi and his family tried to sneak into a gruel centre, they were chased away by an official. “We were asked for our ration cards. When we told him (the official) that all documents were washed away in the floods, he chased us away,” says Mr. Bovi.
Residents of villages may not benefit from compensation
Source : The Hindu
Most houses in villages in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region are ‘kuchcha’ houses
Sorry state: Bhimashankar Kallur and his family inside his damaged house in Yatnal village of Gulbarga district.
GULBARGA: Residents of villages, whose houses have been damaged, completely or partially, may not benefit from the compensation given by the Government.
According to Assistant Commissioner Sangappa, under the norms of the Calamity Relief Fund (CRF), officials are authorised to pay a maximum compensation of Rs. 10,000 to families whose “kuchcha” house have been completely damaged in the floods, Rs. 1,500 to those whose houses have partially collapsed and Rs. 2,500 to those whose houses have been severely damaged. However, for “pucca” houses, which have been completely damaged, Rs. 35,000 will be paid as compensation.
Houses constructed using mud and boulders without concrete roofing are classified as “kuchcha” houses and houses constructed using cement with cement concrete roofing are classified as “pucca” houses.
Almost all the houses in villages in the Hyderabad Karnataka region are constructed with mud and boulders.
People of the villages in this region use the mud from tank beds and boulders to construct their houses. The roof is also constructed with the same mud and bamboo sticks or stalks of red gram. Bhimashankar Kallur, a resident of Yatnal village in Jewargi taluk, whose house was severely damaged, said: “With this paltry compensation I will have to borrow money from money-lenders at a high rate of interest to reconstruct my house.”
At the most Mr. Kallur will be paid Rs. 2,500 as compensation for the three rooms of the four rooms which have collapsed.
Basanna Mariappa of Bandoli village, whose house located on the banks of the Krishna, is severely damaged said: “I cannot imagine living in the house in its present condition. Even if the Government pays Rs. 10,000 as compensation it will not be enough to reconstruct the house.” However, a sum of Rs. 2,000 which was paid to affected families as immediate compensation enabled them to purchase essential items such as food, utensils and clothes.
B.S. Patil, vice-president of the Afzalpur Taluk Panchayat and a resident of Tellur village, which was marooned owing to floods in the Amarja, said that the amount would go a long way in helping the people meet emergency needs. In Gulbarga district, as per the official estimate, more than 30,400 houses have collapsed, partially or fully, in the floods and heavy rain.