Kerala

Ambedkar village gets unprecedented attention

State government officials conducting a survey in Ambedkar village to help draw up a development plan for the place.

State government officials conducting a survey in Ambedkar village to help draw up a development plan for the place.  

Fallout of Omanakuttan’s embarrassing episode during flood, Ministers direct officials to prepare a development plan

Every monsoon season, flooding forces the residents of Ambedkar village in Cherthala South panchayat to leave their houses and shift to relief camps. This year too, the situation was no different.

But, things are about to change after one among them turned from villain to flood hero.

Unfairly branded a thief

The story of CPI(M)’s Kuruppankulangara local committee member N.S. Omanakuttan, who was unfairly branded a thief recently after he collected ₹70 from the residents of a flood relief camp, helped draw attention of authorities to backwardness of his native village.

After the embarrassing episode, which ended in officials tendering apology to Omanakuttan, the village has been receiving “unprecedented attention” from the authorities. Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac and Food and Civil Supplies Minister P. Thilothaman intervened and directed officials concerned to prepare a detailed development plan, with a view to end setting up relief camp for residents of Ambedkar village in rainy season.

Flood scare

“The biggest problem residents facing is floods. I hope the authorities will find a lasting solution to the issue,” Mr. Omanakuttan told The Hindu. Prabha Madhu, president, Kanjikuzhy block panchayat said that Food and Civil Supplies Minister had promised funds for the development of the village.

“Waterlogging in Ambedkar village is a four-decade old issue. We are determined to find a lasting solution to the problem. Steps will be taken to ensure the flow of water in Karipayil channel. Pattanakad block panchayat will also join in the effort. Besides, we will clean and bring small streams in the village back to life,” Ms. Madhu said.

She said that a few other development projects had been mooted. “The Kanjikuzhy block panchayat will implement a programme for the rehabilitation of the SC/ST members in the village. Livelihood enhancement projects will also be introduced,” Ms. Madhu added.

Omanakuttan’s family were among several families moved to the camp last month. On August 16, the police registered a cheating case against Omanakuttan and the CPI(M) district committee suspended him, after a video of him collecting money from the residents of the relief camp had surfaced.

Later, it was revealed that he collected money to pay off an auto rickshaw, in which food was brought to the camp. The CPI (M) later revoked his suspension.

A Facebook page titled ‘Omanakuttante Gramam’, an initiative for ‘eco-friendly development of Omanakkuttan’s village’ has also been launched.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 6:22:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ambedkar-village-gets-unprecedented-attention/article29316881.ece

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