Retired Army Havildar Sripathy (64) has been waiting since 1982 for a plot from the Vyalikaval House Building Cooperative Society, which allegedly made an out-of-turn allotment to the wife of Lokayukta Shivaraj V. Patil. Together, Mr. Sripathy and wife Vasantha (60) earn about Rs. 7,000 a month. It is from this meagre income that they paid Rs. 2.2 lakh in instalments to the Vyalikaval society over the last 30 years.

The news that Mr. Patil's wife was allotted a plot ahead of him comes as no surprise to Mr. Sripathy.

“Of the 5,000 genuine members of the society, very few have been allotted sites,” he says.

The couple, who live in a rented house, has spent all their savings toward the education of their two sons. One son is still studying medicine in the U.S. and the other is an engineer. “We cannot depend on them for survival,” Ms. Vasantha says.

Like Mr. Sripathy, businessman Ramchandra Holla (54) is also a member of the Vyalikaval society. He became a member in 1984 and has already paid Rs. 90,000 but has not yet received a housing site. He lives in his brother's house with wife and two unmarried daughters.

Ms. Vasantha says that after all these years, she has lost the ability to feel anger. “I just feel helpless when I see other people enjoy the fruits of our hard-earned money,” she says.

Mr. Holla, who makes around Rs. 15,000 a month, says, “I do not want to say anything against Mr. Patil or his wife. They are big people. My only appeal to them is to help people like me get what is due to us.”

Echoing his appeal, Mr. Sripathy says, “What has happened cannot be changed. But Mr. Patil has the power to ensure that we get our dues.”

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