11 families in Puthumala allege exclusion from landslide rehab list, to protest

Families who have received land and aid for their houses have also come out extending support to the protestors.
Puthumala landslide spot
Puthumala landslide spot
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Over a year after a deadly landslide struck Wayanad’s Puthumala killing 12 people and rendering families of an entire village homeless, a section of them are now gearing up to start an indefinite protest in front of the district Collectorate from Monday. Eleven families have come out alleging that they have been excluded from the rehabilitation list of landslide victims, for whom the government is giving land and aid to construct house.

Among the 11 families, houses of three families are located in the landslide hit spot, but were largely unaffected. But they had to leave the place as soon as the disaster struck after officials stated that the place is dangerous to inhabit. Meanwhile, eight other protesting families had plots in the region, and that too is now inaccessible as the landslide damaged the roads, thereby blocking accessibility to the place. The families allege that though they were initially named as landslide victims, their names were later taken off from the list.

"My house has cracks though not majorly affected. It doesn't have electricity or an accessible road. We were made to move out from there as the officials said its too dangerous to live there following the landslide. I got Rs 3,000 as aid for monthly rent for six months like other landslide struck families. But I don't understand why they too off my name from the list," says 42-year-old Abu Talhath.

Abu adds that after six months, he stopped receiving the aid that he had received for paying rent of their temporary house.

Two other families, who have also alleged that they were excluded from the rehabilitation list, have houses in Puthumala and were not impacted in the landslide.

"Other eight families have plots. But they can't do anything there as it has been announced uninhabitable. Some of them brought the plots to construct houses, what will such people do?" asked Abu.

The state government has alloted land to the people who lost land and houses in the disaster at Puthakoli.

"There are a total of seven acres land at Puthakoli, and 52 families have been alloted land seven cents each. Why can't we also get the same aid?" Abu added.

Families who have received land and aid for their houses have also come out extending support to the protestors.

"I received land and construction of house is almost over, we will be moving in in two weeks. When my family is secured, I'm disturbed about the others who did not get rehabilitation. We all grew up together, how can I see them homeless," says Shafeer, whose house was destroyed in the landslide. Shafeer's father went missing in the disaster.

Meanwhile, talking to TNM, Meppadi Panchayat president KK Sahad said that the families requiring rehabilitation were chosen by a people's committee formed after the disaster.

"The only issue with these families is that there is no power supply in the region. Recently, taluk officials said that their houses are inhabitable. The panchayat has forwarded a letter to government asking to consider them," said Sahad.

Watch video: Ground report from landslide struck Puthumala

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