COIMBATORE: Claiming that the authorities have not addressed their demands, around 15 Dalit families in Asthanthira Naicker Street in Singanallur have unanimously decided not to exercise their franchise in the urban local body elections, whenever it is conducted.
The families claim to be deprived of basic amenities, including housing pattas and access to electricity for several years.
According to sources, as evenings set in, the people residing in Asthanthira Naicker Street experience a tough time dealing with mosquitoes. Elders, as well as children, are seen having rashes and marks on their hands and legs owing to mosquito bites. The schoolchildren have to make do with kerosene lights or streetlights to revise their portions they said.
More is in store to add to their woes, as the locality has only makeshift bathrooms, which do not have roofs. Seldom do they use the public sanitary complex in the locality because of irregular water supply. Therefore, they are reportedly forced to relieve themselves in the open spaces.
"We started staying in the place in 1983, during the tenure of chief minister MG Ramachandran. Since then, our ancestors have been striving hard to get house pattas but to no avail," said a resident P Palanisamy (65).
"As our demands are not met yet, we have now decided not to cast vote to any party in the upcoming urban local body polls," R Palaniammal (70), another resident said.
The residents recently submitted a petition to the city corporation in this regard. When contacted, a senior corporation official in East Zone said that the petition would be processed after it reaches the engineering section.
President of Arunthathiyar Munnetra Kazhagam, Covai Maniarasu said, "The district administration and the city corporation were petitioned several times urging to provide them with amenities."
Singanallur DMK MLA N Karthik told TNIE that he had already noted down the present state of affairs of the Dalit people in Asthanthira Naicker Street. "Their condition was represented in one of the legislative assembly sessions," he added.