Subramanyam Reddy (44) has pledged his family’s gold to avail himself of a loan of Rs. 2 lakh and complete the construction of his house in the Kulai Rehabilitation Colony, built for those displaced by the Phase I of the Mangalore Special Economic Zone project.
He was forced to pledge the gold because no bank was prepared to sanction him loan against his plot in the rehabilitation colony. “If I had the RTC (Record of Tenancy Certificate) of my land, I could have easily got a bank loan against the property at a lower interest,” he told The Hindu on Saturday.
The Revenue Department has refused to give Mr. Reddy the RTC because the title deed (Hakku Patra) of his plot has two survey numbers attached to it. “The Revenue officials cannot give me an RTC unless they are provided with the information about how much land there is under each survey number,” he said.
But, Mr. Reddy is not alone. A random survey of households in Kulai revealed that several others have been given similar title deeds by the MSEZL because of which they are unable to secure RTCs.
Sankappa Poojary (80) and his wife Iramma (75) are illiterate. Ms. Iramma did not even know that there were problems with the title documents. Sarojini (55), whose husband is no more has three survey numbers given to her plot. Residents such as Lakshman (33) have requested MSEZL many times to remedy the situation “but they have done nothing,” she said. Most of the bread earners of the displaced families are now unemployed. Besides, most of them have borrowed money from private financiers at high rates of interest. Mr. Reddy said, “Because of all the running around, I have not been able to work for the last one year. I could have avoided pledging the jewellery if I was at least working.”
One aggrieved person, on condition of anonymity, pointed out that the title deed was filled by hand. “It is obviously not a printing error. The person filling the details probably knew what he was doing,” he said. Reacting to the issue, Assistant Commissioner for Mangalore Taluk Prabhulinga Kavalikatti blamed the proponents of the MSEZ for the complication. He said the MSEZ officials were in a hurry to distribute the title deeds. “They rushed the officials of the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board and the Revenue Department and made them distribute inaccurate title deeds,” he said. According to him, the MSEZ officials were forced to distribute the title deeds in a hurry after the embarrassment of the November 7 function, organised by them seeking title deeds only to a select few land-losers, and inviting the wrath of many displaced people who too wanted the title deeds.
Chief Operating Officer of the MSEZL A.G. Pai said, “We are aware of the matter and we are trying to set it right.”