Villagers abandon 'flooded' houses, accuse admn of 'indifference' | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Villagers abandon 'flooded' houses, accuse admn of 'indifference'

punjab Updated: Aug 24, 2013 22:48 IST
Heavy rain

Eleven days after heavy rain lashed the region, residents of Warring, Haraj, Sarai Naga, Takhat Malana and Udaikaran villages continue to suffer as the villages remain inundated, forcing many to vacate their houses.

A source said, "Many villages are in a deplorable condition. Many people have had to leave their houses, while roads near some villages are submerged under two to four feet of rain water that has accumulated due to poor drainage system. The water has also damaged crops, including paddy, in some places."

Most of the residents of Haraj village have abandoned their flooded houses, while all the crops and nearly 1.5-km stretch of the road linking the village to the Kotkapura-Muktsar road are submerged under two to three feet of water, allowing only tractors to access the road.

Accusing the administration of indifference, villager Kewal Singh alleged, "The situation has become worse after Thursday, when the district administration, under pressure from some politicians, got the Haraj-Bhuttiwala road dug up, which led to increase in the level of the accumulated water. Most of the people have left their homes, but no efforts are being made to drain out the water."

Alleging that the villagers had not received the rations promised by the chief minister on Friday, villager Bikker Singh added, "Crops on nearly 1,500 acre are submerged, and the cattle are the worst hit because all fodder crops have been destroyed, so we have had to shift them to other places."

Residents of Warring and Sarai Naga had similar complaints.

"The Sarai Naga link drain, dug after floods in 1985, has led to a flood-like situation as it has never been cleaned. Almost all our crops have been destroyed and nearly 50 families have taken refuge in the village school and dharamshala or have left the village," claimed Warring resident Shaminder Singh, alleging that the villagers had not yet received the pumps promised by the district administration to drain out the water.

Sarai Naga village resident Gurdeep Singh claimed, "Even though more than 80 families abandoned their flooded houses seven days ago, we have not received timely assistance from the district administration. We got tarpaulins on Wednesday, but had to wait for rations until Friday. We had to shift our milch animals to relatives' houses as the officials could not give us a clear answer about issuing cattle feed."

"The stagnant water is turning dirtier by the day, causing skin problems," he added.

While residents of most villages complained that they had not received any relief and were not even visited by health officials, they also expressed concern over the 'inadequate' compensation they expected to receive.

"Compensation is always just eyewash and deserving farmers often fail to get any. While we usually sell paddy and cotton at around Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 per acre, we get only Rs 5,000 as compensation, which does not allow us to even break even," claimed Haraj village farmer Bohar Singh.

While Muktsar deputy commissioner Parmjeet Singh could not be contacted for his comments, chief agriculture officer Beant Singh expressed concern over the "heavy loss of cotton and paddy crops".