Residents say M.K. Alagiri provided them water connection

Ezhai Kaatha Amman Nagar in Kottanathampatti panchayat union in Melur Taluk near here was created by people who encroached on land retrieved by the State under the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Act 1961, over two decades ago.

Therefore, about 60 families living here have been denied of basic facilities such as drinking water, electricity and ration cards.

P. Chittu (42), who claims to have been residing in the locality for the last 17 years, laments that the residents are living like tribals for decades. “We are ready to pay property tax, but the panchayat union is not ready to accept it because we don’t have ‘patta’ (landownership document). We are not given ration cards, because we have no proof of residence,” she adds.

However, she has a voter’s identity card. “The voter’s ID shows my residential address as Ezhai Katha Amman Nagar, but officials are refusing to accept it as a proof for issuing ration card. Politicians come here seeking votes and we also vote for them, but they don’t care about us after that. (M.K.) Alagiri was the only one who was compassionate towards us,” she says, with tears in her eyes.

R. Malaichamy Asari, a carpenter by profession, says in June 2010 the residents blocked the car of Mr.Alagiri, Member of Parliament representing Madurai, while he was returning to Madurai after laying the foundation stone for a polytechnic in Melur.

“Then, he visited our locality and arranged water pipeline within 24 hours. If his party had come to power in the 2011 Assembly elections, we would have got ration cards and property tax receipts. Now, the water supply through pipelines has been cut off. And we are left to struggle with a hand pump which gives out more air than water,” he rues.

Kottanathampatti Panchayat Union president V.K. Kathappan agrees that the residents had been living on the encroached land for more than two decades.

“They are justified in seeking basic facilities after having lived in the place for so long. But I cannot collect property tax without a change in the land classification in the revenue records,” he says.

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