Tamil couple who survived Pettimudi disaster gets a raw deal

Tamil couple who survived Pettimudi disaster gets a raw deal
Madasamy and Dharmathai

Munnar: A poor Tamil couple put up at a shelter home is testimony to the apathy of the government to the survivors of horrendous Pettimudi landslide in Idukki district which claimed the lives of 62 people including 19 children last August.

Despite the tall claims made by the state government and other agencies, the couple -- Madasamy and Dharmathai -- who survived the disaster is living in a pathetic condition in the Shikshak Sadan here for the last four months. With no one to enquire about their condition, on many days they have gone to sleep with empty stomachs.

Revenue department and police have washed their hands off this couple. It is alleged that even the tribal welfare department officials have not bothered to visit them or help them.

Madasamy was a labourer at a tea plantation in Pettimudi. But after developing mental illness five years ago, he lost the job. To make matters worse his wife and children abandoned him and left for Tamil Nadu. He was left to fend for himself on the streets of Munnar.

After regaining his mental health, Madasamy eked out a living working as a porter at Edamalakudy.

Dharmathai, 35, who had left her home due to mental illness, met Madasamy while at Edamalakudy. Both decided to stay together.

After the landslide, all families were relocated from Pettimudi. Kannan Devan Company arranged a temporary stay for them. However, Madasamy did not get temporary shelter as he was not an employee of the company.

On August 15, two police personnel brought the couple from Pettimudi to Shikshak Sadan in Munnar. At that time the Shikshak Sadan was a designated Covid quarantine centre. With no other place to go, they were forced to stay on. Even though they have a roof over their heads now, there is no food and survival has become very difficult.