Though R.Palakurichi falls in Pudukottai district, it is surrounded by the panchayats of Sivaganga district

Even as electioneering touches a feverish pace, residents of six villages in R.Palakurichi panchayat in the district have decided to exercise the NOTA (None of the Above) option unless the jurisdictional issues relating to their panchayat is sorted out.

Residents of this nondescript panchayat, sandwiched between Pudukottai and Sivaganga districts, are aggrieved over their ‘neither here nor there’ status.

Posters pasted at different villages in the panchayat list out the residents’ plight and their decision to go in for NOTA if a decision was not taken to end their troubles.

Although R.Palakurichi falls within the Ponnamaravathy block in Pudukottai district, it is surrounded by panchayats of Sivaganga district making it some sort of a landlocked islet.

The villagers have to cross five panchayats of Sivaganga to set their foot on Pudukottai district. This has put the panchayat in a quandary as it was unable to get the “due attention” either from Pudukottai or Sivaganga , claim residents.

Encompassing R.Palakurichi, Raghunathapatti, Vairavanpatti, Vedathalampatti, Gopalpatti and Seegampatti villages, the R.Palakurichi panchayat with a little over 2,000-odd residents is situated on the fringe of the Ponnamaravathy block adjoining Sivaganga district.

Though the panchayat comes under the Pudukottai revenue district, it falls under the Tirupattur Assembly segment in Sivaganga district. Though ration cards have been given by Pudukottai district, voter ID cards are issued through Sivaganga district.

While the local body comes under Pudukottai district, the jurisdictional police station is located in Sivaganga district. For electricity-related issues, the residents were dependent on Sivaganga district. The panchayat’s far off location from Pudukottai town has not only deterred government officials from visiting R.Palakurichi at regular intervals but also district-level office bearers of political parties, claims R.Periya Ponnan, the panchayat president. Villagers have to approach the Sivaganga collectorate to get MLA funds for developmental works as the panchayat has been attached with the Tirupattur Assembly segment.

Getting a passport is another arduous task for the villagers as their jurisdictional police station is in Sivaganga. The applicants have to shuttle between Pudukottai and Sivaganga prior to obtaining the travel document, said Mr.Periya Ponnan.

The only desire of the villagers is to be either attached completely with Pudukottai district or Sivaganga including the jurisdictional police station and courts.

The “neither here nor there” scenario doesn’t augur well for the villagers who badly seek development, Mr.Periya Ponnan said adding that representation in this regard was given to the Pudukottai district administration a few months ago.

The decision to opt for NOTA was taken by all ward members and residents of the panchayat, he said.


Slum-dwellers get assertive April 10, 2014