Mangaluru

This Sullia man has been living in his car in forest for 15 years

Chandrashekar Gowda at a meeting with the Deputy Commissioner in Mangaluru on Thursday.— Photo: H S Manjunath  

Battered in life and losing his two acres of farmland for non-payment of agricultural loan, 43-year-old Chandrashekar Gowda has made his car parked in the forest area, near Sullia, as his adobe for nearly 15 years. Living an isolated life, Mr. Gowda comes to Sullia, which is 21 km away, once a week to sell the baskets he weaves.

This story telecast in a Kannada news channel that made Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim search Mr. Gowda and call him to Mangaluru for a meeting on Thursday. Apart from representatives from cooperative society that had given the loan, well known psychiatrist Ravish Thunga, social activist Hilda Rayappan and Superintendent of Police S.D. Sharanappa were among those who attended this special meeting.

Mr. Gowda had taken a short-term loan and two crop loans totalling to Rs. 50,400 from Nelluru Kemraje Cooperative Society in 1999. Failure to return the amount made the Society initiate proceedings for auctioning his two acres land.

The land was auctioned for Rs 1.2 lakh in October 2002. After deducting the amount that was due, the society has kept in the suspense account Rs. 11,000 that Mr. Gowda has still not taken.

When asked as to why he was living an arduous life in the forest, Mr. Gowda said, “I lost my house and land. There is no other abode.” Mr. Gowda said he had spent sleepless nights in the forest amid elephants and other wild animals.

He then takes names of some persons in his village and accuses them of not giving money he had sought for repayment of loan. “If I had got that cheque of Rs. 50,000, I would have repaid.” He sticks to this even while Dr. Thunga and Ms. Rayappan ask him to state facts clearly.

Mr. Ibrahim’s statement of pursuing Mr. Gowda’s application for regularisation of one-acre land adjoining the two-acre, which he had lost, brings smile on him.

“I want you to do it for me,” Mr Gowda tells Mr. Ibrahim. But he does not agree to Mr. Ibrahim’s offer to stay in Mangaluru and earn living by working at Pilikula Nisargadhama from his baskets.

After the meeting, Dr. Thunga said Mr. Gowda had an odd behaviour and he recommended some psychiatric tests. The Government Wenlock Hospital Superintendent H. Rajeshwari Devi was directed to arrange for the tests. Mr. Ibrahim said it would be the responsibility of district administration to take care of Mr. Gowda and ensure him safe place of living.

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 5:56:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/This-Sullia-man-has-been-living-in-his-car-in-forest-for-15-years/article14026664.ece

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