Those who suffered partial or complete damage to their homes awaiting the relief promised by CM
Hundreds of people from several pockets of the city who had suffered partial or complete destruction of their homes during the devastating October floods last year are still awaiting the promised relief by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.
The floods following heavy rains between October 14 and 18 resulted in the submergence of several localities, and left thousands homeless. Quite a few of them returned after the water receded, only to find their homes damaged and in utter disarray. While the well-heeled could carry out repairs, the calamity hit the poor the worst. “I would not have bought this home had I known what was in store,” rues Rubina Begum looking in deep despair at the collapsed walls of her home in Shankar Nagar slum of Chaderghat.
She purchased the house built within the Musi river bed for ₹ 4.5 lakh about six years ago, spending all her savings and borrowings. On October 18, when the river was in full flow with water released from Himayatsagar, an electricity pole fell on her home, resulting in wall collapse on one side, and cracks on the other.
“By the time I returned, all the household items including the beds and other articles given to me on my wedding day were gone. We survived on donated rations, and clothes and articles given by philanthropists,” Rubina recalled. On the fourth day after the floods, GHMC and Revenue officials had reportedly conducted a joint survey, and assessed the damage.
“They had taken our account numbers, phone numbers, pictures of the homes, and Aadhaar numbers, but till now, no help has come forth,” said Sara Khatoon, a single mother of five children, whose tin sheet dwelling completely collapsed in the floods. Both Rubina and Sara had to shift to rented accommodation, which is proving to be a tremendous burden on their fragile economy.
“I lost my husband last year, and live by sewing cloths. I am unable to meet the monthly rental expenses from my meagre earnings,” Sara said. Rubina has started to work as domestic help to meet the expenses.
“There are about 25 homes in Shankar Nagar, all belonging to the poor, which had been completely washed away in floods. The residents have become destitute and desperately need government’s help,” Syed Bilal, a social worker in the locality informed.
On October 19, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had announced ₹ 10,000 immediate cash relief to the flood affected, besides an assistance of ₹ 1 lakh each for totally damaged houses and ₹ 50,000 for the partially damaged. While distribution of the cash relief began right away, thanks to the GHMC elections, there is no hint of the compensation for damaged homes so far. Survey has been reportedly completed, but no guidelines have been issued.
Both Rubina and Sara regularly make rounds of the MRO’s office. “The officials shoo us away asking us not to come to the office till the government releases funds,” says Rubina.