Cuddalore : People in Samartyapuram colony, Kunjikuppam Village are bearing the brunt of a political strife between the present government AIDMK and their predecessor DMK, as the former denies them flood relief because the colony was set up by the DMK government.
On November 9, Samartypuram colony among other areas received rainfall up to 48 cm, flooding the 15 acre farm land that led to a crop damage worth 2 lakh. It affected the livelihood of 100 families, dependent on agriculture. The villagers have been out of work since and have claimed relief from the government repeatedly, as their belongings got washed away and some thatched houses got severely damaged.
Acquiescing with the unheard pleas of the villagers, a The Hindu correspondent said,” The government sanctioned Rs.5000 for all the people affected by the flood, including the agricultural labour but the AIDMK does not recognise this colony as a flood hit area.”
The colony was set up by the DMK government in 2010 and the people were promised all basic amenities along with aid in tough times but according to the people since AIDMK came in power they have been neglected.
On 29th November, they got relief kits from the electricity board, that included a saree, some food and a mat along with a pillow, but the monetary compensation is yet to reach them. Sega (30), an agriculture labour said,” The relief kits were given to only those who had their ration cards, what about those who lost it in the floods. No one in the union office has taken any action regarding our loss even after several complaints.” He added that he has given three applications till now for a new ration card and is still waiting for a response.
To this, the District Collector Dr. Suresh Kumar said,” We cannot go to every village, relief camps were organised to cater to the loss of goods and for reapplying for ration cards and other IDs.”
Although the DC held his stance, the people of Samartyapuram said they were not made aware of any such relief camps in the area.
The people cried foul as their colony suffers from acute shortage of water and they have been complaining for 6 years now but to no avail, ” Every morning we travel 2 km to another village to fetch water, three villages draw water from one tank there. Apart from that we do not even get regular power supply.” said Selvi (35) who is unemployed but worked as a cashew nut breaker before the floods, earning up to Rs.100 each day.
According to sources, the colony did not get electricity for the whole month of December and only on 3rd of Jan was the power restored. Two days prior to the day when The Hindu came to distribute relief material.
On 5th Jan 2016, The Hindu organised a camp, distributing a kit containing a soap, sanitary napkins, a towel, packets of biscuit, Maggie and towels. K.Arivazhagen, an NGO worker who was present at the site said, ” The livelihood has been severely affected here as the men worked as farm labourers earning up to Rs.200 per day and women Rs.100. They are right in claiming relief as now they find it hard to make ends meet.”
Even as no government aid has reached the labourers in the colony, they still swear their loyalty to the DMK. ” Karunanidhi gave us houses to live in, we will always vote for him.” said Sega, a landless labourer who himself is out of work.