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People in naxal-hit area feel neglected by political parties

Ganesh Prabhu
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Bridge across Suvarna, asphalted roads among Eedu's demands

Schoolchildren crossing the Suvarna rivulet at Eedu village in Udupi district on Thursday.— Photo: Umesh Marpalli
Schoolchildren crossing the Suvarna rivulet at Eedu village in Udupi district on Thursday.— Photo: Umesh Marpalli

People in the naxal-affected village of Eedu, about 65 km from Udupi, are a distraught lot as they feel the development promised by the political parties has not reached them.

It was in Eedu village that the first encounter between the police and the naxals in the State took place on November 17, 2003, resulting in the death of two suspected naxals.

Nine years after the encounter, people feel that little has changed in the village despite the assurances made by the politicians.

Their major demand for a bridge across the Suvarna rivulet, asphalted roads and storm-water drains remains unfulfilled.

They do not expect the by-poll to the Udupi-Chikmagalur parliamentary constituency to change their fortunes.

Appi Poojarti, in whose house the 2003 encounter took place, said that all political leaders had, after the encounter, made all kinds of promises to her family but had not fulfilled any.

“Our house has become weak. We are now building new houses after taking loans. There has been little development in our village. I will vote in the by-poll only if I feel like it,” she said.

Essential

Suresh Hegde, a farmer who owns three acres of land on which he grows paddy, arecanut and coconut, said that an asphalted road and a bridge across the Suvarna were essential.

“A few months ago, one of my relatives injured his left leg and we had to carry him till we could take him to a “pucca” road from where he was taken by a two-wheeler to a hospital. Imagine the difficulty during a medical emergency,” he said.

His wife, Lata Hegde, said that the four storm-water drains constructed on the “kacha road” connecting the hamlet of Bolletu in Eedu were deteriorating. “The construction work is poor,” she said.

Jyoti Shankar, an anganwadi teacher, said that the Suvarna rivulet was full of water for nearly nine months and it was not possible to cross it by foot.

It was only during the summer that the school-going children and other people could cross it by foot.

“Otherwise, I and the school-going children have to take a circuitous route walking for over 30 minutes to reach the anganwadi and school. If a bridge is constructed, we can reach our destinations in five minutes. We are forced to store food items and other requirements of the angwandi in a nearby house,” Ms. Shankar said.

Sundari Nalke, homemaker, said that due to the heavy rain and difficulty in crossing the rivulet, students missed their classes, especially during the monsoon.

Lingu Nalke, an 85-year-old farmer, said: “There has not been much development in this region. We require development. I have always voted for the Congress and will vote for it again in the by-poll.”

Shashikanth Poojary, a farmer, who grows paddy, arecanut, coconut and vegetables in his two-acre field, said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders had promised to construct an asphalted road, but had not fulfilled it.

“Still I will support BJP this time,” he said.

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