Harshini Brahmavar / Suvarna Brahmavar
Pics: Umesh Marpalli
Daijiworld Media Network - Udupi

Udupi, Jul 18: Udupi is a developing city that occupies a top place in the state in education, health, and business. On the other hand, the slum area in the city is also expanding day by day.

There are nearly 150 migrant workers’ families from north Karnataka who are staying in thatched huts in the slum colony close to the National Highway 66 at Nittur. According to the residents, there are nearly 300 families there.

Most of the youth and women from the colony work at the Malpe Fisheries Harbour, about six kilometers away. They get paid about Rs 300 per day. About 50-60 children attend the nearby aganwadi and government school at Hanumant Nagar, Ambalpady, and Adi Udupi. One boy is enrolled for his PUC at Garadimajal College.

The teachers or prescribed school vehicles collect the children from the colony and take them to the anganwadi and school. Dhanraj, a resident, said that the children get eggs and milk at the anganwadi.

The youth and women help unload fish from the boats. They go to work at 2 am in the month of August which is peak season, and are back home at 8 am.

These migrants have been living with their relatives since 30 years, but not a single family has a ration card or an ID card.

There is a need to rehabilitate these people to safer areas where sanitation and drinking water facilities are available. A local resident said that they fetch drinking water from the nearby hotel.

Mysore Maruthi, from Gadag, said, “We are living in a pathetic condition; we do not have property as such. My ancestors lived at Eluru Bhavan Malpe, 30 years ago and gradually moved into Nittur. If we get a proper place, we are ready to shift from here. We have survived till now without a ration card, so let’s hope for the good.”

Shankrappa from Lakshmishwar in Gadag district said, “The government should provide us with below poverty line (BPL) ration cards. This will allow us to get food grains at cheaper rates. Many of the government officials have visited us, but it’s of no use.”

They say that their primary concern has been nourishing their children and earning a livelihood which pushes all other worries to the background.

During the time of Dr V S Acharya, he had promised to provide land in Kodibettu, but till now there is no response from the government.

Recently, DC Muddu Mohan visited here, and said he would relocate them to a safer area. The issue is under discussion and the commissioner is free to take all decisions regarding placement of migrants.

Huts standing precariously by roadside continue to defy shifting deadline

Meanwhile, make-shift huts pitched by the side of the national highway near Doopadakatte Brahmavar continue to remain in the same place, though six months have passed since the deadline to vacate them. These huts, standing on the edge of the highway, are located at spots which openly invite accidents. Taking cognizance of these facts, the deputy commissioner of the district, about six months back, had given a deadline of seven days for the eviction of these huts.

All these huts continue to exist at the same spots they were in when the deadline was given. Several families which came from north Karnataka to work in Brahmavar Sugar Factory have settled here. Before the highway was widened, the gap between these huts and the road was considered safer, and hence the danger faced by them was not grave. However, because of the highway widening work, over 50 huts now virtually line up the highway, and hence, face grave risk of being hit by vehicles. This situation poses risk to lives of hundreds of people.

If a heavy vehicle veers away from the path after the driver loses control over it at this spot, there is no doubt that dozens of lives will be lost instantly. Therefore, the officials have a duty to jump into action and ensure that the dwellers of these huts shift their residences to safer spots. This will also bring a sense of relief for the vehicle drivers and passengers travelling in them.