Flood-prone Karnataka village being relocated


Bangalore: An entire village of about 2,000 people in Karnataka’s Dharwad district is being relocated as it is hit by floods almost every year during the monsoon.

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The village, Kongawada, about 50 km from Dharwad and 420 km north of Bangalore, is on the banks of Bennehalla, a tributary of the Malaprabha river.

The village of about 300 houses is being shifted to a higher plane about two km away. The state government has acquired 30 acres of land and will build over 350 houses on the site, each of 1,500 sq ft area.

Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa Monday performed ‘bhumi puja’ at the new location to launch the construction of houses with the help of religious institutions and donors, apart from the government funds.

Yeddyurappa said schools, hospital, places of worship and other civic amenities would be made available in the new village.

The state government wants to relocate more than 200 flood-prone villages and is seeking financial assistance from the central government.

The plan to shift Kongawada village was speeded up in the wake of the Sep 30-Oct 2 rain and flash floods in north Karnataka which left over 220 dead and damaged about 350,000 houses. More than a million people were rendered shelterless.

The state government has estimated the loss from the havoc, including damage to crops in around 25 lakh (2.5 million) hectares, at over Rs.17,000 crore. It has sought Rs. 10,000 crore in assistance from the central government.

Yeddyurappa is leading a delegation of ministers and senior officials to Delhi to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday to persue the demand for massive central aid.

Manmohan Singh, who made an aerial survey of the devastation on Oct 10, has announced Rs.1,000 crore central assistance as interim relief and promised more after a central team submits a report assessing the damage and rehabilitation costs.