Lakshmipet Dalits wait for land distribution after one year


STAFF REPORTER

SRIKAKULAM, May 31, 2013

Officials not able to buy land due to skyrocketing prices in Vangara mandal

The State government could not resolve the land distribution issue even after one year in Lakshmipet village of Vangara mandal, Srikakulam where five Dalits were massacred during the clashes between BCs and SCs on June 12, 2012. Both the sections still wanted control over 160 acres of land under Madduvalasa reservoir though it was originally alienated to the government for the construction of the project.

It is useful for agriculture activity but cannot be officially distributed as it is likely to inundate during time of floods. The officials are not able to buy suitable land for the distribution with the skyrocketing of prices in and around Vangara mandal.

The government does not have its own lands for the distribution among the 80 Dalit families.

They feared that poor people among the backward section would also insist for sanction of lands if pattas are given to Dalit people.

Interestingly, the government had spent more than Rs.1 crore on various welfare activities but those did not satisfy Dalit families as they wanted permanent income source through agriculture activity.

According to sources, around Rs. 35.20 lakh worth cattle were distributed among the victim families. A total of Rs.5.31 lakh has been paid as compensation for not providing employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act. Drinking water schemes, community hall have been sanctioned.

A total of Rs.22.8 lakh has been sanctioned as compensation to the families of victims. “The government planned to construct houses and individual sanitary latrines also. But Dalits insist on land distribution. We are helpless since the decision over sanction of land should be taken at Secretariat-level,” said a senior official.

Mala Mahanadu State president Palteti Penta Rao expressed serious concern over the delay in sanctioning pattas to Lakshmipet Dalits even after one year.

“The real justice is done only through distribution of lands among the SC families. Then only, they can lead a respectable life,” said Mr.Pentarao.

Mala Mahanadu youth leader Majji Ganapati has expressed displeasure over the inordinate delay in establishment of special court in the village though the government claimed that the building was ready for the prosecution of accused persons in sensational Lakshmipet case.

 

Activist ‘surrenders’ before court to highlight pollution of lake #mustread #ganapati


SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, The Hindu, Sept 25, Salem

Says immersion of Vinayaka idols has polluted the Mookeneri Lake

Moral responsibility:V. Piyush Sethia (right), an environmentalist, came to Salem court to surrender on Monday.- Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan

Moral responsibility:V. Piyush Sethia (right), an environmentalist, came to Salem court to surrender on Monday.- Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan

Taking moral responsibility that he was not able to save the picturesque Mookeneri Lake, here, from a bunch of polluters, who immersed idols of Lord Vinayaka, made of plaster of Paris and toxic dyes in it, a Salem-based environmentalist V. Piyush Sethia, Convener, Salem Citizens’ Forum, which resurrected the lake into a throbbing water spread that was once a PWD’s cesspool, ‘surrendered’ before a Salem judicial court here on Monday.

The activist’s ‘surrender,’ with no case pending against him in any police station in this particular issue, had caught the Judicial Magistrate No. 4 N. Vijayalakshmi and a host of lawyers and litigant public, unawares. After going through his petition, which claimed that he ‘surrendered,’ since, as a responsible member of Salem Citizens’ Forum, he had failed to keep his promise given to stakeholders at the time of rejuvenation that the lake would not be ‘abused’ for purpose other than water holding and ayacut use.

Perplexed, the Magistrate after seeking his explanation told the petitioner’s lawyer P. Mayan that she had to consult legal experts and senior colleagues before deciding the fate of his ‘surrender petition.’ “But later in the evening the Magistrate had dismissed the petition itself pointing out that it had enclosed no supportive documents such as FIR or any specific complaint filed against the petitioner in this regard,” Mr. Mayan said.

Talking to The Hindu, Sethia said despite knowing well in advance that chemical-coated idols would be immersed in the lake, he failed in his duty as a responsible citizen to stop it.

“As the Forum’s convener I could not also stop the massive pollution that the immersion caused to the lake, illegal under the provisions of Air and Water Act of Environment Protection Act 1986 and Tamil Nadu Public Property Damages Act. I construed it as negligence on my part, which is an abetment to crime. Hence I surrendered,” he said.

He further said the City Police had permitted the immersion of idols – all made of plaster of Paris and toxic dyes in the lake. “We gave the Police Commissioner a petition against the immersion of such toxic coated idols. He assured us of ‘rule of law.’ Believing him, we did not take the matter to Collector, PWD and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to stop it,” he said. He and others were not against the immersion of idols that are made of clay and natural dyes.

Painful sight

It was a painful sight to see the water spread of Mookeneri Lake, now home to rare water birds, fish and exotic plants, and a much sought-after tourist spot, turning poisonous. “We in the Forum are developing many lakes under private-public partnership. But all our concerted efforts go waste when such environmental vandalism goes on unchecked,” he said.

He has decided to approach City Police to register a case against him – again for abetment to a crime.

 

 


  • Piyush Sethia was involved in the restoration of Mookaneri Lake
  • Vinayaka Idols made of plaster of Paris and toxic dyes were immersed in the lake recently

     

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