Staff Correspondent

Madikeri: Organising secretary of the Kodagu district unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) I.R. Durgaprasad said here on Tuesday that there was no truth in the statement of a few members of the Kodagu Ex-Servicemen’s Association that Kodagu was being converted into a “mini Kerala”.

Dr. Durgaprasad told presspersons here that Kodagu-Kerala association was ancient. People of Kodagu worshiped gods and goddesses common to the people of Kerala. A Kodava family still acted as the chief of the Vayathur (Bythur) temple in Kerala, he said.

Migration of people from one place to another was a common feature in the country. Ex-servicemen fought for the nation, not just for safeguarding interests of any particular community or caste, he said.

Malayalees living in Kodagu had assimilated the culture of the land and were living as Kannadigas, he said.

On anonymous letters being received by the coffee growers, he said it did not happen after the recent visit of the Kerala Home Minister, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, to Virajpet town. Dr. Durgaprasad said Mr. Balakrishnan’s visit was a routine one in his capacity of being in-charge of organising the CPI (M) in the State.

Opposition to the proposed Greater Talacauvery Wildlife Sanctuary project in Kodagu and also to establishing mini hydel power projects existed in the district much before the visit of Mr. Balakrishnan to Kodagu, he said.

The CPI (M) would support the demand of the ex-servicemen on land grants from the Government, he said. The Government should concede the demands of tribal people, agriculture workers and landless persons and provide sites to them without delay, Dr. Durgaprasad said. Problems of the ex-servicemen did not crop up due to Malayalee settlers in Kodagu, but due to faulty Government policies, he added.