M Dhanda villagers in Tamil Nadu still await homes, power

Over 52 families moved here and set up temporary sheds while they applied for new houses under a government scheme.
Residents of M Dhanda village have been living in temporary enclosures for the past decade. Adding to the misery, the village lacks roads, power connections, clean drinking water and even toilets.
Residents of M Dhanda village have been living in temporary enclosures for the past decade. Adding to the misery, the village lacks roads, power connections, clean drinking water and even toilets.(Representative image)

DHARMAPURI: Nearly a decade ago the residents of M Dhanda village in Pennagaram taluk had received title deeds for the land. They had dreamt of settling down here and leading a decent life. However, nearly a decade later, their plans and dreams remain unrealised as they have no homes, electricity, roads, or even clean drinking water.

In 2013, 72 residents of M Dhanda village received title deeds for their lands under a government scheme and some people moved to their lands located over 3.5 kilometer from Eriyur. Over 52 families moved here and set up temporary sheds while they applied for new houses under a government scheme. However, that plan didn't work out. They have been living in temporary enclosures for the past decade. Adding to the misery, the village lacks roads, power connections, clean drinking water and even toilets.  

Speaking to TNIE, K  Muniappan (42) said, "Our village has more than 52 families and all communities live in harmony here. But we are united in distress. For clean drinking water, we travel about 2 km. We have to rely on solar-powered lights. Without proper water supply, we bathe once a week in the Cauvery River near Nagamarai located over 15 km away. Our lives have been hard in the past decade,  but we have gotten used to it and will overcome problems together."

Another resident, R Chinnaponnu, (36) said, "Lack of healthcare and education are other concerns. Without roads, we have no access to ambulances. So when our children or elderly fall ill, we have to go to the Eriyur Primary Health Centre (PHC) or the Pennagaram Government Headquarters Hospital.

While some children in our village go to school, some do not. Most of us are labourers. As we leave for work early, we cannot ensure that students reach the school over 3 km away. Also, there are no bus services or other modes of transportation to the village."

Another villager K Periyasamy (41) said, "We had filed numerous petitions with the panchayat office, Block Development Office, revenue department and even the district collector. But so far we have had no responses. We urge the Dharmapuri administration to aid and provide us with basic amenities."  

When TNIE spoke to Pennagaram Tahsildar, S Sugumar said, "We had learned about the issues in the village. Efforts are underway to provide housing under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY). We will study the local terrain before providing roads. Further  TANGEDCO staff will also take steps to provide electricity. Every aspect of the village will be improved."

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