Vandiyur Theerthakadu residents continue hunger strike over unfulfilled demands

Speaking to TNIE, M Maharasi, a resident said that for over 40 years, they have been facing challenges in getting pattas.
Residents of theerthakadu continued their hunger strike on the sixth consecutive day seeking to ensure basic amenities to their area.
Residents of theerthakadu continued their hunger strike on the sixth consecutive day seeking to ensure basic amenities to their area.(Photo | Express)

MADURAI: Demanding the district administration and the collector to issue pattas and fulfil other basic facilities, scheduled caste residents of continued their hunger strike on the sixth consecutive day.

The village, which falls under the Madurai corporation limits, is under ward 38 and has around 400 SC residents residing since 1979 on 9.73 acres of land. Of this, 249 families received pattas in 1985, which was later cancelled by the officials. Even though the residents submitted petitions to several collectors over the years, sent representations to the chief minister’s cell and took out protests, it was to no avail. The residents further stated that they lack basic amenities such as drinking water facilities, toilets, electricity and pucca roads.

With support from the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), residents launched a hunger strike on Thursday. However, as the officials failed to pay heed to their issues, the residents attempted to reside inside the collectorate on Monday but were detained by the police.

Speaking to TNIE, M Maharasi, a resident said that for over 40 years, they have been facing challenges in getting pattas. “Because of this, we reside in small huts and are forced to relieve ourselves in open spaces. This causes inconvenience, especially to adolescent girls and pregnant women.” The hunger strike has also caused our health to deteriorate, she said.

VCK chief secretary AC Pavarasu said that on Monday, revenue division officer Shalini and Adi Dravidar welfare officer Celin Kalaiselvi met the protesters and said that a proposal to grant pattas was sent to the chief minister for ratification. “We asked for a copy of the proposal. The RDO said that there was a correction in the copy. When we asked for it again, she denied,” he said.

Pavarasu further stated that the land belonging to SC members was encroached by caste Hindus, but was restored later after a court order. “Now, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court had ordered the district administration to survey the land and issue pattas. However, District Collector MS Sangeetha has not made any efforts towards this,” he added.

The district collector and the RDO could not be reached for comment.

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