KOLHAPUR: The long wait of the flood-affected residents of Chikhali and Ambewadi villages for permanent rehabilitation is likely to end soon. Satej Patil, the district guardian minister, has instructed the authorities to take note of the villagers’ demands, especially related to the plot requirement for permanent settlement. Patil has visited both the villages several times and has spoken with the local authorities to make sure the issue sees some progress.
Since 1989, the villages have been hit by floods many times. Earlier, the villagers were given plots for permanent resettlement at the Sontali village. However, due to the lack of amenities, people could not shift there.
Patil said, “Since the first settlement and rehabilitation plan was made, the number of families has increased. We want complete data on the number of families, members in each family and their requirements. We are planning 100% rehabilitation of the villagers.”
The Chikhali village is located at the confluence of five rivers, which further become the Panchaganga river. Ambewadi is located downstream of the Chikhali village. The villagers are ready to shift their houses, but do not want to surrender their farmlands. The villagers mostly grow sugar cane and some have jaggery-making units. Even after the sugar cane crop was totally damaged after the floods in June, the villagers did not want to surrender their farmlands.
A villager said that a crop like sugar cane is damaged only if the floods are massive and wash out the entire crop. Such massive floods occur rarely, once every 10-20 years. In such a scenario, surrendering the farmland is like surrendering livelihood.
“Many villagers have claimed that the plots given to them at Sontali village back in the 1990s have been encroached upon. I have asked the revenue authorities to survey the site and make a plan to rehabilitate the villagers on vacant plots,” added Patil.