Medha criticises neglect of Vallarpadam evictees

Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar with the families displaced for the Vallarpadam project in Kochi on Saturday.

Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar with the families displaced for the Vallarpadam project in Kochi on Saturday.  


Visits damaged houses built on plots given by the government

Social activist and Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar said she was saddened by the plight of families displaced for the Vallarpadam International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT) even nine years after they were given title deeds for their rehabilitation.

Ms. Patkar was talking at a protest meeting after visiting the seriously damaged houses of evictees owing to the poor quality of plots at one of the rehabilitation sites at Thuthiyoor on Saturday morning. The day marked the ninth anniversary of the award of title deeds to evictees.

Addressing the gathering from the portico of a tilted house, she said Moolampilly package and title deeds were awarded following a strong popular protest against the brutal eviction of people without offering them compensation and rehabilitation in advance. While the government had promised solid plots for the rehabilitation of evictees, the then Left government gave them filled plots leading to serious damages to houses built on them.

Ms. Patkar said though three chief ministers, four revenue ministers and five collectors had changed in the last nine years, rehabilitation continues to languish midway.

Title deeds

It was nine years ago that the then chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan distributed title deeds for 56 families. Since then, two families had constructed houses on the plots.

However, the remaining families had desisted from investing in houses on the plots after those two houses developed problems reportedly owing to the unstable nature of the land.

The tenth anniversary of the forceful eviction of 10 families from Moolampilly was observed only last month. Around 268 out of the 316 families evicted for road and rail connectivity of ICTT remain yet to be rehabilitated as they continue to languish either in rented facilities or shacks.

The families were evicted from Moolampilly, Mulavukad, Kothad, Cheranalloor, Vaduthala, Kalamassery, Eloor, Manjummal and Edappally. Out of the seven sites where rehabilitation plots were allocated, six were on filled land.

As houses built on at least three such rehabilitation plots developed cracks and began tilting sideways, more evictees remain circumspect about constructing houses using hard earned resources. An inspection of two sites by the Public Works Department found the soil to be loose and settlement of blackish slush beneath the top soil.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 7:48:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/medha-criticises-neglect-of-vallarpadam-evictees/article22921122.ece

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