Rains ravage north Karnataka; farmers, residents fume over govt apathy

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has expressed his inability to grant aid because of the model code of conduct in place

Some of the districts in Karnataka are facing floods for the second year in a row, even as they are struggling to recover from the effects of the previous flood. File photo: PTI

The incessant rains over the past one week have damaged several houses and farmlands across nine districts of Karnataka. Several houses and kharif crops including paddy, sugarcane, soya went under water in areas of Belagavi, Koppal, Bagalkote, Bellary, Vijayapura, Raichur, Hubbali, and Yadgir districts.

The state officials are still estimating the extent of damage caused due to the floods.

With the politicians busy with by-elections, residents and farmers have accused the government of ignoring them in the time of need. With some districts facing floods for the second year in a row, several farmers, who did not even get the compensation for last year’s floods, took to streets to protest against the administration’s lethargy.

Nagappa Kamble, a sugarcane farmer who was to harvest the crop in a month’s time, says the rains caused damage to his crop in two acres of land and affected an investment of ₹80,000.

“This is the second year in a row that I am facing problems. Last year, I was expecting 120 tonnes of sugarcane production, but all I could get was about 10 tonnes. I am yet to get the compensation announced by the government. Yet again, I find myself in the middle of another crisis,” Kamble, a farmer in Belagavi’s Athani taluka said.

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“Despite government officials taking a survey of the damaged crops last year, I still haven’t got the money. Do we have to run around for compensation every year?” he asks.

Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (farmers’ association) sought to declare north Karnataka floods as a ‘national disaster’ and help farmers by releasing the required compensation in a timely manner.

“The Centre should release the disaster management funds in a scientific manner. It should also ensure that the sugar factories pay the pending dues to farmers. Besides, the government should bear the cost of college fees of students from rural areas,” said farmer leader B Nagendra.

Meanwhile, farmers have threatened to launch protests across districts on October 23. With the bypolls due in November and Legislative council elections later this month, politicians are busy with election preparations.

Though Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa conducted aerial surveys in Raichur, Yadgir and Kalaburagi districts, he could not do the same in Vijayapura due to bad weather conditions. To add to the plight of the flood victims and suffering farmers, Yediyurappa said he cannot announce any help/aid due to the prevailing model code of conduct.

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The anger seems to stem within the party for Yediyurappa for ignoring the north Karnataka districts. BJP MLA from North Karnataka Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, a Lingayat, expressed his displeasure at the CM for ignoring the region and said, “Yediyurappa will not be CM for long and his successor will be from north Karnataka.” Yatnal even claimed the Prime minister was aware of this.

This further strengthened rumours that were going around that the party is looking to replace Yediyurappa any time soon.

Siddaramaiah, former Chief Minister and leader of the opposition in the state assembly, on Wednesday took a dig at the CM and said he should have met people instead of taking aerial surveys. He further said the state failed to release funds even to construct houses for people affected by floods last year. Both, the union and state governments, failed to come to the rescue of flood victims, Siddaramaiah said.

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