Madikeri/ Mysuru: At a time when the victims of 2018’s devastating floods and landslips in Kodagu are still to be fully rehabilitated as most of the houses meant to be constructed for them are yet to see the light of day even two years after the tragedy, Rotary International District 3181 has handed over 50 houses for flood victims.
Unprecedented rains, landslips and floods devastated lives and properties in Kodagu in 2018. Many villages were wiped out as mud came crashing down carrying everything in its path — trees, mud, electric poles and houses. It has been a tough two-year journey for those who lost their homes, hard-earned money and properties.
Between Aug. 5 and Aug. 19, 2018, unprecedented rains triggered by cloudbursts, floods and landslides brought untold misery to the people of Kodagu and over 30 percent of land in Madikeri and Somwarpet taluks was destroyed in previously unheard of havoc that was unleashed by nature, rendering hundreds of people homeless.
Though the State Government, in 2018, launched an ambitious project to build 835 houses in phases, there has been a long delay. Only 423 houses that were promised in the first phase of rehabilitation project has been completed at Jamboor and Katakeri by Nirmithi Kendra.
The tragedy, however, is that the houses have not been handed over to the deserving. Only 35 houses that have been constructed in Karnangeri have been handed over to beneficiaries. The construction of the remaining 412 houses is yet to begin.
In the light of this delay, the work done by Rotary International District 3181 has caught everyone’s attention. 50 houses that were built in two phases have been handed over and the latest group of 25 houses were handed over to beneficiaries on May 10 (last Sunday) at Gargandhur-Madapura areas. The first phase of 25 homes were handed over on June 18 last year at Iggodlu-Madapura in the presence of Past Rotary International President Kalyan Bannerjee.
Worst affected and most deserving
Rotary has spent Rs. 2.56 crore for 50 homes. Speaking to ‘Star of Mysore,’ Rebuild Kodagu Trust Project Chairman and Past District Governor Dr. K. Ravi Appaji said that the 50 families were selected on the basis of selective criteria of worst affected and most deserving.
Immediate Past District Governor P. Rohinath is the Rebuild Kodagu Trust Chairman and Past District Governor Krishna Shetty is the Treasurer with District Governor Joseph Mathew and District Governor-Elect Ranganath Bhat as members.
The beneficiaries were identified by the community leaders and stakeholders of the Rotary project. “They were local people and among those who were not chosen to be supported by the Government. The land and title belonged to the beneficiaries and homes were built on their own land instead of building houses at an unfamiliar surroundings. Some of the houses had just plastic sheets wrapped in bamboo poles with a make-shift covering on top,” he said.
The victims were living under constant fear of wind and rain. “Each home cost Rs.5.05 lakh and contributions from donors, Rotarians, friends and others all over country and abroad were collected,” he added.
Due to Corona lockdown and restrictions, no stage ceremony invites or other formal arrangements were done. Homes were handed over in a simple way maintaining social distance. “This was done for the benefit and convenience of the beneficiary families so that they could occupy the houses before the monsoon rains started this year. Any finishing work like final coat of paint and sponsor nameplates will be done in the due course,” Dr. Appaji said.
This project was initiated and encouraged by Past Rotary International President Kalyan Banerjee along with Past Rotary International Director C. Basker in association with Habitat for Humanity India and senior leadership.
“It was supported by all the District Governors, Chairman of Birla Group Rajashree Birla, sponsorships through Past Rotary International President Rajaa Saboo, Rotary International President Nominee Shekar Mehta, Rotary International Director Dr. Bharat Pandya, Rotary International Director Kamal Sanghvi, Rotary India Literacy Mission RILM, Rotary News Trust, Rotary International Director Nominee (RIDN) Dr. Ravi Vadlamani, RIDN Venkatesh, Past District Governor Dr. Devdas Rai, Rotary District 3181 grants, all District Governors, all Past Governors, Rotary leaders, Presidents various Rotary Clubs and individual Rotarians, institutional donors and philanthropists,” he said.