Karnataka Flood Victims Stage Protest Outside Banks, Claim Compensation Cheques Not Being Cleared
But the district administration claimed that multiple cheques were being issued for the same house, due to which they had decided to hold back the payment.
An aerial view of the flood affected areas in Karnataka's Belagavi district. (PTI)
Bengaluru: Flood victims in Vijayapura district of Karnataka protested outside banks on Tuesday claiming that their cheques — given as temporary relief for floods — were not being cleared.
The residents said authorities were citing various reasons to delay the payments. However, the district administration claimed that multiple cheques were being issued to the same house, due to which they had decided to hold back the payments.
"We received a cheque of Rs 10,000. We have 10 members in our family. It has been more than two weeks but the banks are not responding. We don't have a convincing response from the tehsildar either," said Sharanappa Jhulaki, a farmer from Devoor village in the district.
"We have suffered a loss of more than Rs 1.5 lakh. What the government has given now is temporary relief of Rs 10,000. We haven't received even that," added Jhulaki.
According to the villagers, 37 of the 42 houses in Devoor village were given a cheque of Rs 10,000 each. Of those 37 cheques, only seven or eight have been cleared so far. The district administration refuted the allegation.
"There is no shortage of money. We have enough funds. The compensation is said to be for each house, not each family. Even if there is more than one family in the same house, the amount remains the same. With this being the case, we received complaints that certain houses received two to three cheques. Such cheques have been withheld," said Vijayapura Deputy Commissioner YS Patil.
Patil claimed that a total of 413 cheques were distributed for flood victims at relief camps in 9 villages of the Muddejihaala taluk. Of those 413 cheques, 400 have been cleared, he said.
"There was water in each of these houses because of which we did not conduct any survey before we distributed the cheques at relief camps. We gave the cheques based on the information we received from the authority in-charge," he said.
The district administration had not conducted a survey to verify the details of the beneficiaries even after the floods. It was done only after they received the said complaint.
"I have come here after 15 days. I submitted my cheque on August 17 but it hasn't been cleared yet. I had to leave today's work to come here. The bank tells me to meet the tehsildar, who tells us there is some issue with certain cheques. If that is the case, why don't they reveal the cheque numbers?" said Devoor resident Ramesh Mahanthappa Golasangi.
"Even we will question those who have multiple cheques. Why did they give us cheques in the first place if they don't want to compensate? We are made to run from pillar to post with no clear answers to our questions," Golasangi added.
This temporary relief given by the government is to compensate for clothing and utensils. Compensation for crop loss is yet to be released.
Following the protests and media scrutiny, the district administration has issued a statement saying that the respective bank managers have been directed to release amount into the beneficiaries' accounts as soon as the cheque is received.
According to the statement, only 9 cheques (of Rs. 10,000 each) have been withheld.
The government in August had released nine crore rupees for relief to drought victims and five crore rupees for flood relief in Vijayapura district. Of this, Muddejihaala tahsildar has in its account 64 lakh rupees as of Tuesday.
(With inputs from Mahesh V Shatagar in Vijayapura)
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