Political and welfare organisations in BTM layout independently collected funds and relief materials for flood affected victims of North Karnataka from residents and shops around this area. The relief materials include rice, pulses, oil, clothes, and medicines and so on. The disaster is reported to have left thousands of people homeless and around 170 people dead.
Some shops in BTM 2nd stage confirmed they have donated rice, pulses and other materials.
BJP’s Bangalore Slum Morcha group of BTM ward collected 600 bags of rice, claims its leader H K Muthappa, who is also hoping to contest from the BTM ward for the upcoming city council elections.
Muthappa had setup a site on 7th Cross in BTM II Stage opposite the popular Balaji Veg Darshini, at the intersection of 10th Main. On Saturday Oct 10th, a large stockpile of rice bags, were spotted neatly arranged and displayed on this site. Muthappa says his group also collected Rs 1.5 lakhs from BTM ward including medicines and clothes. He says the money will be contributed to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.
Muthappa also says his group went to several flood affected areas – Ingalige village, Hadahalli village, Wantogi village and Bundi in Bagalkot district of Mundol Taluk on October 10th and 11th. In response to questions from Citizen Matters on details of the relief activity, Muthappa’s supporters quickly flocked around and answered all questions directed to him. At one point Muthappa had to politely ask some of them to be quiet and let him answer.
Prasad A, who runs a rice shop Annapoorna Retail on 7th Cross near 6th Main Road, says Muthappa purchased nearly 300 bags of rice from him as part of his collection. Muthappa admits to buying rice to beef up his relief kitty, and insists that there were donations too. Muthappa also claims to have given Rs 5000 each to deceased family members of Ingalige village. The area reported two flood victims.
BTM Layout witnessed at least two other collection drives, one by MLA Ramalinga Reddy and another drive by a citizens association.
Ramalinga Reddy says the relief materials – chiefly large quantities of rice and clothes – collected from his constituency were being distributed in Kopal District of Karnataka. “We have also collected a sum of Rs 30 lakhs”, he says adding, “the money has been handed over to Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee by cheque (KPCC)”.
He also added that KPCC would be buying goods and commodities for the flood affected people.
BTM Senior Citizens’ Association also claims to have collected around 350 bags of rice from the shops and houses of this area for the flood affected people. The group which has around 20 members also claims to have distributed the relief materials in Kopalla Taluk a few weeks ago. “Around 15 us went to Kopala Taluk to distribute the relief materials which included rice, clothes and some medicines”, says one of its senior citizen members, Rajashekhar.
Maruti Rice Traders which is located at 16th Main, 7th Cross, BTM 2nd stage, donated two bags of rice, according to its owner Chandre Gowda to BTM Senior Citizen Association. “I think all the shops around this area should have contributed around 350 bags of rice for Shiva Ram Reddy’s (President of BTM Senior Citizens’ Association) camp”, says Gowda.*
‘Bangalore South Resident’s Welfare and Cultural Organisation’, a social welfare group claims to have collected around Rs.1.5 lakhs. Its BTM-based president A Vidyashankar said the amount has been donated to Chief Minister’s relief fund. Vidyashankar did not respond to Citizen Matters questions on more details about the organisation itself.
Not all residents connected with the drives
Despite the campaigns, there were still people in BTM II stage whose homes were not touched by any of the groups, or some shops who did not donate. Ragvendra Rice Corner’s owner J Ram said he has not donated anything for any camps. His shop is located diagonally opposite to Maruti Rice traders.
With a blank look on his face Farooq Basha, a resident of BTM 2nd stage, 16th Cross, 16th Main said, “Nobody came to my house asking for relief funds”, echoing the reactions of some of the residents Citizen Matters spoke to.
This raises questions about some of the high numbers claimed in particular by Ramalinga Reddy and Muthappa. Citizen Matters has not been able to independently verify the claims.
However, William (71), a resident of 6th Main, Mico Layout of BTM 2nd stage said that he came across two to three members of a group coming to his house asking for relief materials. He says he could not remember which group they belonged to. ‘I gave them some money”, he adds.
Side light – Muthappa’s pitch for council ticket
For his part, BJP council hopeful Muthappa does not underplay his intent to contest for the coming BBMP Council elections from the BTM ward. He says he is very interested, but quickly adds this is only if BJP party gives him a ticket. BTM ward is just over 2 square kms in size and houses around 35,000 people according to the 2001 census, the only official estimate available. 45,000 people currently live here, according to Muthappa.
He claims he has been into social work for the past 20 years and is a trustee member of various temples around BTM as well as other parts of the city. He says he has been donating money for heart operations in different hospitals and has also been donating furniture and books for three government schools around BTM. From the past 10 years he says he has been conducting free marriages in Bavishakara temple.
A Vidyashankar, President Kuvempunagar Permanent Resident’s Welfare Association (KPRWA) seems to support H K Muthappa’s claims. “H K Muthappa has been doing good work for the residents. He deserves all encouragement,” Shankar says.
C B Madappa, vice-president, BTM Resident’s Welfare Association says Muthappa needs to establish one on one contact with the local people adding a lot of people do not know about him. “He needs to go deeper into civic issues”, Madappa adds. ⊕
* Updated October 31st 2009: Maruti Rice Traders owner Chandre Gowda had donated two bags of rice to Shiva Ram Reddy’s Camp (BTM Senoir Citizens’ Association) and not Ramalinga Reddy’s camp.