MADURAI: Despite all the chest-thumping over rural electrification, Killakku Theru at Nagari under the Vadpatti Taluk in the district cuts a rather sorry picture. Students straining their eyes under the streetlight, women attuning their schedule to the sun and the constant threat of vermin during the night have become a part of the daily life here. The reason: the village has had no electricity connection for close to half a century.
Home to around 30 families, Killakku Theru comes across as a slum, where sewage water stagnation and mosquito menace pose both hygienic and health hazards. A nonagenarian resident from the slum told TNIE that some families have been residing in the locality for over 150 years.
“We all are from the SC (Pallar) community; our ancestors worked for the landlords here. The landlords gave land to our ancestors, who established the tenement. Not much has changed and people still work as daily wage earners on agricultural fields. However, poor rains robbed many of that avenue and they found poor jobs at nearby factories. The issue is that the land patta are in the name of landlords. While a few landlords gave land to the people free of cost, other sold it to us. However, a majority of us do not have the patta,” says the nonagenarian Vellaiyan.
The situation was not always grim here. In 1972, when MGR was the chief minister, officials brought electricity to the village under the Othapalppu Scheme. However, soon after the split in the DMK, the connection was severed as the villagers did not have patta.
Two fortunate families to have recently received the power connection in the locality – Nagu’s and Sundari’s – told TNIE that almost all the families in the settlement received the free home appliances given by the political parties.
“However, for a long time these appliances were gathering dust as their was no electricity to run these. So far, the villagers have submitted over 10 petitions and even have shot off a letter to the chief minister’s cell, but to no avail.” A Rural Public Relations Officer of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board told TNIE that the villagers’ petition has been forwarded to the Assistant Engineer concerned.