The dalits, tribals and farmers of Thenkanikottai in Krishnagiri district held demonstration demanding issuing of house pattas to around 800 families, distribution of land pattas to tribals and thousands of farmers and transport facility for villages in the region. The demonstration held on Tuesday was led by the Tamil Nadu Vivasayikal Sangam affiliated to the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS).
The administration assured action after the demonstrators and leaders of the AIKS submitted a memorandum of the demands.
RENOVATE DAMAGED HOUSES
Most of the dalit families of Thenkanikottai taluk in the district live in the houses constructed between 1986 and 2006 by the Tamil Nadu government, which are presently in a deteriorated condition—posing danger to the residents.
Prakash, district secretary of AIKS, Krishnagiri district committee, while speaking to NewsClick said, “Most parts of the ceilings are waning away day by day and pose a threat to the people living in the houses. The condition of the houses is so bad that they can’t live there anymore. The district administration should take immediate steps to renovate these damaged houses.”
Around 800 dalit families living in such houses are yet to receive the pattas for their houses. The families are issued ration cards, electricity connections and other facilities but pattas.
TRIBALS DEMAND RIGHT TO LAND
The taluk is also home to thousands of tribals belonging to the Irular community, who are yet to receive right to their lands. The members of the community demand issuing of land and house pattas as prescribed by the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.
“The Irulars are traditional forest dwellers and are deprived of land and house pattas even after the Act has come into force several years ago. The fear of relocation is rampant among the community, as the governments are introducing several projects in the name of development, affecting the livelihood of the tribal people,” added Prakash.
The denial of land and house pattas has resulted in absence of basic amenities to the tribal hamlets for long.
40,000 ACRES OF FARM LANDS WITHOUT PATTAS
The taluk is known for the abundance of granite, which seems to be the reason behind the refusal to issue land pattas, owing to a legislation from 1989. More than 40,000 acres of farm lands owned by the farmers of two taluks of the district are denied pattas citing the legislation. With projects like high-tension power lines and GAIL pipelines being implemented across the district, farmers fear loss of land and unfair compensation in case of implementation of such projects.
Prakash said, “The lands held by the farmers are still considered as poramboke by the government. The granite resources are being depleted by big mining companies while the poor farmers suffer hardships without pattas in the name of ‘protecting these resources’. The government is also losing a huge revenue since the private players are looting the resources.”
PROVIDE TRANSPORT FACILITY
The Thenkanikanikottai taluk shares its border with the Karnataka state and many of the villages here lack transport facility. The Tamil Nadu government has no intent of operating any buses passing through these villages and has refused permission to the Karnataka Transport Department to operate the interstate services.
“The residents of around seven hamlets in the taluk depend on their own vehicles and private carriers for transportation. The vegetable produces are carried at a higher transportation cost resulting in losses for the farmers who are already putting up with high input costs and low cost for their produces. The state government should operate buses on these routes for the farmers or sanction permission the neighbouring state to operate their buses,” said Prakash.
Also read: Tamil Nadu: Nilgiri Tribes Relocated Without Proper Compensation