‘Nine families are waiting for payout, condemned to a life of penury’

Twenty years after the demolition of 11 houses at Kuthethar during the construction of Mangalore Refinery Petroleum Limited (MRPL), nine families are still waiting for compensation and are forced to live a life of penury, said Ashok Bhat in his appeal to State Human Rights Commission member C.G. Hungund on Friday.

Mr. Bhat, who came along with a few displaced members, said though the families possessed title deeds, and secured even loans from the Karnataka Housing Board (KHB) for the sites, MRPL had deemed them encroachers and denied compensation for most of them.

Right To Information documents obtained from the Tahsildar’s office and Bala Grama Panchayat show that the families had been allotted the land by the government before the demolitions had begun, he said.

Thimmu (75) said she now lives in a thatched-roof house on someone else’s property. Similarly, Chitrakshi, whose father Appi died of cancer soon after the displacement, said she and her four younger sisters have since struggled “without the safety of a permanent house”.

Mr. Hungund said he would look into the legality of the matter and ask the government to take a suitable action.

Probation

Presenting his case to the SHRC member at the public hearing, T.R. Nagaraj, who has been employed in Mangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (Mescom) for 13 years, said he had not yet been made a permanent employee.

Having joined Mescom in 1998 as a gangman, Mr. Nagaraj suffered severe spinal cord injury in 2006 when a compound wall collapsed on him when he was on duty. Recuperation took two years, and even now his legs are partially paralysed. Struggling to walk even with a walker, he told Mr. Hungund that in 2008 he returned to work as a desk clerk. “I’m still in probation, which means while those in my position earn Rs. 8,000 as basic salary, I get Rs. 3,390 in hand,” he said.

Mr. Hungund said would inquire with Mescom to take up the matter on humanitarian grounds.

SHRC gets most complaints against the police department, Mr. Hungund said before heading for the meeting, and incidentally Krishna Prasad (43), a farmer from Vittla, alleged illegal detention by the police by booking him under non-bailable sections. In June 2012, he and neighbour fought over property. Mr. Prasad said he suffered injuries, and when he went to lodge a complaint the next day, he was arrested. “The police told me the neighbour had filed a complaint during the night. Instead of filing it under IPC 326, which is bailable, they filed it under IPC 324 which is non-bailable. I spent three days in jail,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mataddi, from the Koragara Zilla Samiti approached Mr. Hungund about the delay in investigation even after a case of attempted rape of a Koraga girl in Madapadi, Sullia was lodged on October 10.

More In: Mangalore