Muralidhara Khajane

They were displaced from Hebbal Industrial area in the year 2004

They have been living in Ekalavyanagar since their displacement

Federation to launch agitation if their demand is not met

Mysore: Frustrated over the apathy of the district administration in rehabilitating semi-nomadic community which was displaced from Hebbal Industrial area in 2004, the Karnataka State Semi-Nomadic Community Federation (KSSNCF) has threatened to launch an indefinite agitation if the authorities concerned did not concede their demand for their permanent rehabilitation within the next fortnight.

Over 36 huts were destroyed in an accidental fire at Ekalavyanagar on Friday where over 266 semi-nomadic community families were staying from the past six years. The district administration has provided temporary shelter to the affected families in Puranaiah Choultry.

Ekalavyanagar, which is 11 km away from Mysore, is home to hundreds of Janapada artistes and musicians who have been performing for several decades now. The secluded settlement is home to 266 nomadic families with a total population of over 1,500 people. As basic amenities are not provided at Ekalavyanagar, the folk artistes are forced to lead sub-human lives. .

A majority of the residents of Ekalavyanagar belongs to the Shillekyatha tribe that stages street dances and puppet shows in different places to earn a living. Besides, there are people belonging to the Dombi Dasa community that narrates mythical stories. Several other families in the settlement belong to the Kole Basava, Soliga or Korama tribes.

The artistes were evacuated in 2004 and given temporary shelter in Ekalavyanagar. Although temporary water and electricity connection has been provided to the residents of Ekalavyanagar, they have not received the title deeds for the land their huts have been built on.

The State Secretary of the Karnataka State Semi-Nomadic Community Federation, Kuppe Nagaraj, told presspersons here on Monday that though the stay on the disputed land of Ekalavyanagar was vacated, the district administration has made no effort to acquire the land for permanent rehabilitation of the semi-nomadic tribes. He regretted that Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa did not visit Ekalavyanagar after fire destroyed 36 houses.

When asked about the district administration plan of constructing multi-storey building in Ekalavyanagar to rehabilitate them, Mr. Nagaraj said that multi-storeyed building would not help them as they have a different culture altogether. “It would be difficult for them to rear animals, which is a part of their profession, in multi-storeyed buildings”, he added. Vice-President of the KSSNCF Sheshappa was present.