Pramod Mellegatti

Farmer’s family yet to get compensation announced by the Chief Minister

Opposition to Dandavati irrigation project intensifies

The project will submerge 1,346 acres of land

SORAB (SHIMOGA District): Shivappa Kataler, a small farmer of Mudagod village of Sorab taluk, committed suicide opposing the implementation of the Dandavati irrigation project. But even after one year of his death, the compensation promised by the State Government is yet to be paid to his dependents.

According to a preliminary survey, 1,346 acres of land will be submerged owing to the Dandavati project, including the land owned by Shivappa. Land was the only means of livelihood for his family.

Police records say that fearing displacement and loss of livelihood, the farmer ended life on January 12, 2009, a day ahead of foundation-stone laying function for the project.

Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who laid the foundation for the project on January 13, announced a compensation of Rs.1 lakh for the next of the kin of the farmer. But the Chief Minister failed to visit the family of the deceased farmer. People in Sorab expressed their ire over the death and took out a procession, led by the former Minister and former MLA of Sorab Kumar Bangarappa, even as the foundation stone-laying function was going on.

Later, Mr. Yeddyurappa changed his statement and said that Shivappa’s death was suspicious and compensation would be paid to the family after investigating into the case. So far, no investigation has been ordered and compensation has remained elusive to his family.

But the compensation of Rs. 1 lakh provided by the former Chief Minister and former Shimoga MP S. Bangarappa is the only solace for the distraught farmer’s family.

According to Uday Kumar, Shivappa’s son, no government representative has visited his family.

He said that the withdrawal of the decision to implement the Dandavati project was the true relief that the government could pay for the family.

Meanwhile, a meeting was held at Marur — the dam site of the project — in Sorab taluk on Wednesday to protest against the implementation of the proposed Dandavati Irrigation Project on the occasion of the first death anniversary.

“It is only through a do-or-die agitation that the government could be forced to withdraw the anti-people project,” said H. Ganapathiappa, freedom fighter and frontline leader of the Kagodu Satyagraha — the first-ever agrarian movement after the Independence launched at the nondescript village Kagodu in Sagar taluk in the early 1950s to demand the conferment of the ownership rights on the poor tenants.

He aid that the project should be opposed in a manner of the freedom struggle and added that it was not proper to exploit farmers in the name of the development.

District Secretary of the Congress Committee T.N. Srinivas said that the project would not be allowed to be implemented under any circumstance. Veteran journalists G.R.G. Nagar and representatives of various organisations, including Parameshwar Dooguru, Ramachandra Chidadumbe, Kabse Ahokmurthy, Ganesh, A.R. Srinivas were present.

Meanwhile, the State Government has issued notification for the survey work on the project.