They are still to get compensatory jobs

Chief Minister B.S. Yedyurappa was greeted by the angry and sloganeering Dalits on his arrival on Saturday for the inaugural of the Rs. 180-crore integrated terminal building at the airport here.

The agitators, whowere displaced in phases by the airport over a period of 10 years, have allegedly not got full compensation by the Government yet. Their lands had been acquired for the airport on behalf of the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

The Chief Minister's convoy stopped briefly in front of the agitators and Mr. Yeddyurappa heard their grievances. However, D. Krishnananda, district convener of the Karnataka Dalit Sangharsh Samiti, which organised the protest, said: “The Chief Minister left the spot without giving us any assurances.”

Later, Mr. Krishnananda told The Hindu that the members of the 280 families, which were displaced by the airport in phases since 1999, had not yet got jobs as compensation.

The land was acquired for a paltry price of Rs. 250 a cent in the early 1990s, he said.

Ownership issues

The memorandum submitted to the Chief Minister mentioned that 75 households, whose lands were acquired in 2006-07, had been given compensatory sites with controversial titles. “When we went to get our sites registered, we found that some of them were in somebody else's name,” said one of the agitators.

The agitators also raised the issue of the 10 Dalit houses in the Bonkuri area, just outside the new terminal building, which has been cut off from the outside world by the wall of the building.

In a report that appeared in these columns on October 27, 2009, the then Assistant Commissioner for Mangalore taluk, Prabhulinga Kavalakatti, had said, “The Revenue Department is working on a solution to the Bonkuri issue”.

Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the inauguration of the terminal, Mr. Kavalakatti said that “talks are still on”. Expressing concern over the plight of the displaced Dalits, Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily asked Mr. Yeddyurappa to find a solution to the issue.

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