Kudubis opposing the project gherao the panchayat office

Some members and officials of Permude Gram Panchayat stopped authorities of Mangalore Special Economic Zone Limited (MSEZL) from going ahead with construction of a compound wall on the land which the company had acquired from Kudubi tribal people at Kudubi Padavu under the jurisdiction of the panchayat on Thursday.

The panchayat on Thursday issued a notice to the Chief Operating Officer of the company asking it to stop the work. The notice served by the panchayat development officer (PDO) said that the company had not obtained permission for constructing the wall. The PDO asked the company to give an explanation to this effect. It said that if not the panchayat would take legal action against the company as it had violated Section 64 of Karnataka Panchayatraj Act, 1993.

The panchayat issued the notice after Kudubis and activists opposing the MSEZ project gheraoed the panchayat office questioning the officials.

Activist Raghu said when ordinary people were required to obtain permission for constructing houses and when permission was required for any development work in the village, the panchayat should not allow the MSEZL to carry out work on the land of Kudubis.

Raising slogans against both the MSEZL and the panchayat officials, the demonstrators demanded that the work be stopped on the land acquired from Kudubis. The Kudubis had refused compensation repeatedly by stating that they know no other way of life but agriculture.

Koragu Gowda, a member of Kudubi tribal community, said that because of the work being done by MSEZL main access to their houses had been blocked.

Nalin Kumar Kateel, MP, visited the area later in the evening. He told presspersons on the spot that the State government was working out a solution for rehabilitating Kudubis. When asked what kind of solution could emerge when the land had been acquired by the company, Mr. Kateel said if the Kudubis were willing, they could either give up their land and take compensation or they could be given compensated in the form of allotment of agricultural land elsewhere. Until a solution was arrived at, the MSEZL would be told not to carry out any construction work on the land acquired by them, he said.

The Kudubis, however, had been insisting that they did not want any other land.

Earlier, Mr. Kateel had organised a programme at Permude village in which leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party and members of right-wing groups such as Hindu Jagrana Vedike thanked the Sangh Parivar, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Vishvesha Tirtha Swamiji of Pejawar Math, and Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa for de-notifiying the land for Phase II of the MSEZ project.

Mr. Kateel lauded the “special struggle” of the swamiji and said the land had been saved because of the combined efforts of the Krishi Bhoomi Samrakshana Samiti (KBSS), Karavali Karnataka Janabhivridhi Vedike, the Nagarika Seva Trust, and the MSEZ Pradesh Samrakshana Samiti. KBSS president Madhukar Amin, local leaders of the BJP, BJP members of Mangalore taluk panchayat and zilla panchayat, leader of the Hindu Jagrana Vedike Satyajit Suratkal were present.

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