While the devastation caused by the floods in Kerala got much more media attention due to the number of lives lost, the hilly area of Kodagu in Karnataka, also saw a lot of destruction of property and homes due to landslides.
After providing relief to the affected persons, Rotarians of RI District 3181 have formed a Trust — RID 3181 Flood Relief Fund — to build homes for those affected by the landslides caused by floods. According to RID 3181 PDG Dr K Ravi Appaji, it is estimated that in the hill station area in and around Kodagu about 4,000–5,000 hectares of coffee estates were devastated by landslides, completely destroying many houses, including those of people working on the estates.
“Hence Rotarians of our district formed this Trust and with contributions from our members, and Rotarians from neighbouring districts and Rotary News Trust, we have decided to launch an ambitious project to rebuild 25 homes at a total cost of ₹1.25 crore,” says Appaji.
They will be doing this in partnership with the NGO Habitat for Humanity India, for which an MoU has been signed and in the first phase a cheque of ₹30 lakh was handed over to the NGO from the district. With this money, six houses, each costing about ₹5 lakh, and with an area of 320 sq ft, will be built in the first phase.
In early February, bhoomi puja for two such homes was done in the presence of RI Director C Basker and District Governor P Rohinath. “You should have been there to see the joy in the eyes of Panchali, the recipient of the first house for which the bhoomi puja was done,” said Basker.
Appaji added that the beneficiaries, who had clear titles to the land owned by them were identified with help from the local gram panchayat leaders and Habitat. While the Rotarians are building houses that were totally destroyed, the Government of Karnataka has also committed to build around 850 houses, including partially damaged houses in the region, he added.
All efforts will be taken to ensure that the houses in this first phase are built by May-end, before the onset of the monsoon, he added. While the homes will now have a single bedroom, there is an option to add one more room at an additional cost in the future.
PDG Krishna Shetty and senior director of Habitat Sanjay Daswani were also present at the bhoomi puja.
(Those interested in donating towards this rebuilding of homes project can send their donations to: RID 3181 Flood Relief Trust; A/c no. 0178101016769; Canara Bank, Mangaluru; IFSC Code CNRB0000178)