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Regularisation of encroachments sought

By Our Staff Correspondent

MADIKERI Oct. 2. Members of the Kodagu District Backward, Dalits, and Minorities Federation, led by its founder-president, T.P. Ramesh, staged a dharna in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue here on Thursday urging the Government to fulfil their demands.

In a memorandum submitted to the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, copies of which were released to the press, Mr. Ramesh noted that the forest land occupied by the poor in the district prior to 1978 had not been regularised, despite a Government Order in this regard.

He accused the district administration of turning a blind eye to their woes. The Forest Department and the Revenue Department were merely passing the buck, he said.

There were many poor people in Kodagu who had occupied revenue land transferred to the Forest Department under the Land Bank scheme.

He alleged that while those who could afford to "pay" had got their land regularised, the poor were let in the lurch.

Mr. Ramesh alleged that corruption was rampant in government offices in Kodagu. To worsen matters, the officials concerned were not available most of the time.

There were several anomalies in the distribution of green cards under the public distribution system.

While some cards had the wrong photograph, the names of some persons who did not come under the scheme figured in the list. Such mistakes could be rectified if the district in-charge Minister and the other two Ministers from Kodagu visited the gram panchayats and instructed the officers concerned, he said.

He said coffee and cardamom growers were put to hardship as they were yet to get the coffee registration certificates (CRC) and cardamom registration certificates (CDRC).

He accused the district administration of ignoring the plight of agricultural labourers, poor people, and those who died while working but were yet to receive compensation from the Revenue Department. Over 500 applications for compensation were pending clearance. The Government should release funds immediately to pay compensation, he said.

Mr. Ramesh alleged that some persons, with the support of certain members of the ruling Congress, had destroyed cardamom plantations belonging to a tribal family. The federation would petition the National SC and ST Commission and its State counterpart in this regard.

The Akrama-Sakrama Samiti set up the Government to regularise land had not helped the poor, he said.

Sanket Poovaiah, President of the district unit of the Janata party, K.T. Baby Mathew, president of the Kodagu District Christian Service Association, Muneer Ahmad, former Chairman of the Madikeri Urban Development Authority, M.M. Liyaqat Ali, former vice-president of the Madikeri Town Municipal Council, and Nazeer, former Vice-President of the Napoklu Gram Panchayat, participated in the protest. People from Bhagamandala and surrounding areas, Karike, Chettimani, Cherambane, Maragodu, Siddapur, Avaregunda paisari, Dubare, Kakkabe, Boikeri, Cheyyandane, and Napoklu also took part in the dharna.

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