Officials in Kodagu stated that there was a delay in identifying suitable land to rehabilitate survivors.

Protest by Kodagu flood survivors seeking land for rehabilitation enters 9th day
news Protest Tuesday, February 18, 2020 - 12:41

A protest by survivors of the flood which hit Kodagu in 2019 entered its ninth day on Tuesday. Hundreds of residents of Siddapura in the hilly district are protesting against the delay in identifying land to construct new houses for them.

Many of the families protesting had lost their homes in the heavy rains and floods which hit Kodagu last year. After more than six months of waiting, the families from Karadigodu and Guhya villages decided to start an indefinite agitation in front of the Siddapura Gram Panchayat on February 10. 

"We are protesting for the ninth day because land has not been identified to rehabilitate those who have lost their homes in the floods which occurred more than six months ago," Yamuna MA,  former president, Siddapura Gram Panchayat, and convener of Flood Victims’ Association told TNM.

As per estimates, 66 houses were completely damaged and over 100 houses were partially damaged in the floods that occurred in the monsoon season of 2019. The floods took place a year after devastating landslides struck in Kodagu in 2018.

Officials in Kodagu stated that there was a delay in identifying suitable land to rehabilitate survivors. "We had started searching for the land but there was a delay in identifying litigation-free land. There was litigation pending either in the High Court or the district court in the land we had shortlisted. We could not identify land in the same Gram Panchayat but now we have identified three areas in neighboring hoblis. We are hopeful that we will be able to finalise the land this week," Kodagu DC Annies Joy told TNM. 

She stated that those who lost their houses will get new houses built at a cost of Rs 5 lakh. She further added that the district administration is paying each affected survivor ten months of rent.

The protesters stated that many people had lost their homes as they were staying close to the river bed. "The residents had approached the district administration after the landslides in 2018 seeking for rehabilitation in a different area. However, their request was unanswered," Mustafa, a social activist from Kodagu told TNM. 

In another part of Kodagu in Balagodu, a similar agitation was started by families residing in temporary structures. "In this area, many Dalits and Adivasis reside and work in coffee and pepper plantations in the area. While government land has been identified, the construction of houses to rehabilitate residents has not yet begun here," Mustafa.

After the identification of land, it takes between 10 months and a year for the construction of houses, district officials said.  "We are told that the Assistant Commissioner is looking to identify land for us but our protest will continue until a viable option is presented to us," Yamuna adds. The protesters are set to meet district officials later today for another round of discussions. 


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