‘20 acres of land got flooded as Advalakatte got filled to the brim’

Nearly 20 tribal people and farmers from Haralahalli in Hunsur have urged the district administration to release compensation for crop damage owing to recent floods in the district.

S. Sreekanth of Development through Education (DEED) and other activists said the local authorities in Hunsur initially denied relief to them on the grounds that their fields were not affected by the overflowing river and any compensation is only for those affected by the floodwaters of the Lakshmanthirtha.

The local officials’ argument was that the crop damage of the petitioners was incurred owing to the overflowing waterbody — Advalakatte — near the village and hence they were not eligible for compensation unless it was mentioned in the Government Order.

This, however, was vehemently contested by the affected farmers who brought the issue to the notice of the higher authorities who have assured them that the denial was perhaps owing to a wrong interpretation of the directives, and compensation would be paid to all those who were affected by the rain.

Mr. Sreekanth said almost 20 acres of land got flooded as the Advalakatte filled up to the brim and there was no proper regulation of the floodwaters. This has caused immense loss to the farmers, including tribal people who are already under debt, and hence they have sought government intervention to bail them out of the situation.

The affected farmers have also urged the authorities to ensure proper regulation of water from the tank lest it overflows again. The outlet was blocked this year, resulting in back flooding. The petitioners wanted the local authorities to ensure proper discharge during the season of high inflow from the upstream region. Mr. Sreekanth warned that the lake embankment could breach, resulting in colossal loss of crops and property in case the inflow and outflow in the lake were not regulated.

The complainants said it was regrettable that there was a tendency of the local officials to perceive any flooded agricultural land as part of a waterbody and thus inferring that cultivation was taken up on lakebed and describing it as illegal. The farmers have been cultivating since the last 50 years on the said land, they said, and sought immediate release of compensation for the crop loss suffered by them.