Karnataka: Historical shrine dismantled for Almatti Dam in 1997 awaits reconstruction | Bengaluru News – Times of India

ALMATTI (VIJAYAPURA): The people of Chimmalagi, one of the 136 villages that now lies submerged in the waters following the construction of the Almatti Dam in 1997, were not given much cause for complaint after the government ensured all those who lost their homes were adequately compensated, and subsequently rehabilitated to what is today Chimmalagi-2.
However, nearly a quarter-of-a-century later, the temples that dotted the village, some of which dated back to the 12th century, are yet to be reconstructed – a spiritual void that the resettled villagers still feel keenly.
The original stones of these partially dismantled temples were preserved at the Vandal Railway Station, but the wait for their reconstruction in what is the new avatar of the Chimmalagi village continues.
Pontiff-designate of the Aralale Katte Sansthan Hiremath, Chimmalagi Siddarenuka Devaru said that the Kedareshwar and Somanatheshwar temples dated back to the first century AD. “History books inform us that Chimmalagi was a city in the first century AD, and its significance as an urban centre chronicled by an Egyptian historian. The Channarama temple was constructed in the 12th century. The government appears to be ignorant of the archaeological value of the shrine,” Siddarenuka Devaru told TOI.
Chimmalagi residents Shivu Gadigeppagoudar, Mustafa Makandar, Ramu Jagatap, Mallanagouda Narasanagoudar, among others, pointed out that the rehabilitation and resettlement of the village was started in 1995, and completed two years later. They remembered that the government had decided to relocate 21 historic temples.
“Some of the village elders had then argued that the funds were not sufficient for reconstruction of temples. The officials had allayed their fears by promising disbursal of sufficient funds for the purpose. But no blueprint was furnished for the proposed reconstruction of temples. Since the village elders remained apprehensive about the proposal, the shifting of the temple was put on hold. The survey was conducted in 1982 to ’84, but the government’s assessment of the cost of reconstruction has not been adjusted to inflation,” they rued.
A retired official who had worked on the Upper Krishna Project at Almatti in the 1990s recalled that the village elders had been misled by the politicians. “The government relocated 136 villages in the region. But the elders of Chimmalagi felt that the funds allocated for reconstruction of temples were not sufficient.
If they had accepted the funds, they could then have received 30% in solatium (compensation) or funds from the Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam Ltd, the MLA’s local area development corpus,” the official said.
Special deputy commissioner for rehabilitation and resettlement in Bagalkot Somaling Gennur, however, said that funds were disbursed for the reconstruction of temples in 1996-97. “Our records show that a committee comprising an officer from the rehabilitation board and villagers was constituted. But work on reconstruction was halted after villagers raised concerns over inadequacy of funds. But we have sent the memorandum submitted by the villagers to the government,” Gennur said.


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