Shashikala Manjunath and Jayamma B., both home-makers, have been wondering for the past two months why flood relief has eluded them. They, along with over 20 households living on H.M. Nayaka Road, 1st Main in Nandini Layout, sustained huge losses when the drains overflowed and flooded their homes in October.
“All houses on our street have not received any relief. We lost almost everything that we own, including food stocks. While homes on 2nd, 3rd and 4th Mains have received flood relief from the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), we haven’t” rued Ms. Jayamma.
It is not just homes on H.M. Nayaka Road, 1st Main, that have been left out. Several homes in Maruthinagar and Marappanapalya too have been left out. “We are still waiting for some relief. We approached the local MLA Gopalaiah, who promised to look into the issue,” said Srikantappa, a senior citizen and resident of Maruthinagar.
On Friday, several residents staged a protest in front of the BBMP’s zonal revenue office, demanding flood relief. The flood relief, in the range of ₹5,000 to ₹10,000, is given by the BBMP after a mahazar (spot inspection) by revenue officials and an assessment of the loss sustained.
According to N. Raghavendra from the BJP Yuva Morcha, more than 80 households that deserve flood relief have been completely left out by the BBMP. “There should be some justification as to why these people have not received any flood relief. They suffered just as must as the others in the other areas,” he said.
Alleging irregularities in the distribution of relief, he claimed that the BBMP had issued cheques to more than 60 people in Vrushabhavathinagar randomly. “The cheques were issued to persons without any mention of the address. This is why we suspect foul play in distribution of relief,” he added.
Mr. Gopalaiah, however, claimed that the issue is being politicised. “The flood relief work was actually affected because of a complaint filed by the BJP with the Anti Corruption Bureau. Even the protest was just a political gimmick by the BJP. They are raking up non-issues because elections are round the corner,” he alleged.
BBMP’s Joint Commissioner (West zone) A.B. Basavaraju told The Hindu that the civic body had issued flood relief cheques to 2,207 people. Stating that he would once again verify the list of flood-affected people, he said ₹5,200 was given to 2,200 flood-affected people and ₹7,200 to seven people whose homes were extensively damaged. The families of three deceased persons received ₹5 lakh each.
“For the first time, we prepared the list of the affected within three days and issued cheques. Following the rains, we set up four rehabilitation centres in the area while the councillors and the local MLA distributed foodgrains and other necessary items to the affected families,” he said and added that he would discuss the issue with the Commissioner as well.
Branch fell on couple: Still awaiting compensation
Little did Irudayaraj, 62, and his wife Cecilia Raj, 57, imagine that their lives would be turned topsy-turvy on July 31 when they were on their way back home. Around 1.30 p.m., a huge branch snapped and fell on the couple.
Mr. Irudayaraj, who has directed two Kannada films and assisted renowned Tamil film director K.S. Gopalakrishnan in 21 films, was seriously injured and needed 47 stitches on his head. His wife too sustained injuries. Their medical bills since then have run into lakhs.
“After the accident, the Directors’ Association of Tamil Nadu said my bills would be waived off if I availed treatment in the neighbouring State. But given my condition, I couldn’t go there. I was assured help by the local councillor,” he said.
It’s been months since the accident and the couple is still awaiting help from the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). Leader of Opposition in the BBMP Council Padmanabha Reddy has even written to the commissioner requesting him to grant some aid to the elderly couple.
BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said that he would look into the case and see if some help can be extended from the Mayor’s Medical Fund.