NAGAPATTINAM: While land disputes became common everywhere after the real estate boom, locals of Kovilkannampoor in Kizhvelur taluk have no such worries because none of its residents owns land.
However, the 1,250 residents of the village are by no means poor; they even have large houses. But the land they live and cultivate on is not in their names. Instead, it belongs to the Nadukurinathar Shiva temple, built in the Chola era.
Speaking to Express, G Jayaprakash, a Kovilkannampoor resident, said, “Because of the practice of land ownership in the names of private individuals, issues like land-grab arise. A third of disputes in rural areas is because of land, which we call vaaikkaal, varappu thagaraararu in Tamil (disputes over land and canal). This means that when forming a furrow and canal, some can unknowingly occupy parts of others’ land in agricultural fields, leading to tension.”
He added that all the residential and agricultural land, spanning around 300 acres in their village belonged to the Nadukurinathar temple. “It is clearly mapped and surveyed. As there are about 250 families in the village, including 30 Dalit households, everyone owns a house and cultivates on temple land without any disputes. While Dalits mostly work as farm labourers in the district, in our village, all Dalits are successful farmers. Except during the drought period, all farmers have been leading a happy life.”
“If there are any doubts over land, we will call the village administrative officers and HR&CE officials so they can sort it out immediately. We do not fight over land and have not filed any civil cases as there has never been a problem here,” the Kovilkannampoor resident added.
Moreover, locals provide a portion of their harvest to the temple. Interestingly, Kovilkannampoor residents are also not interested in purchasing land outside.