Panchayats oppose move to shift jurisdiction

Special Correspondent

Sri Mushnam too far away, say civic bodies

Sri Mushnam located in Vellar's southern bankPeople will have to travel nearly 120 km to attend official works

CUDDALORE: Ten panchayats and 15 hamlets in Khammapuram panchayat Union have protested the proposal to take them out of the purview of the Vriddhachalam taluk and attach them to Sri Mushnam.

It is the apprehension of the panchayats such as Karmangudi, Valliyam, Keeranur, Marungur, Kavanur, Pavazhangudi, Melapalaiyur, Thozhur, Keezhapalaiyur and Devankudi that the move would pose immense hardships.

S. Venkatasean, secretary of the Theevalur Anaicut Farmers' Association, told The Hindu that official sources had indicated that Sri Mushnam would be converted into a taluk before being linked to the Ariyalur district.

In such an eventuality, the people of these panchayats and hamlets would face a great deal of problems, right from commuting to approaching officials. For instance, Sri Mushnam was located on the southern bank of the Vellar, and the chosen panchayats on the northern bank of the river.

Mr. Venkatesan said that it was a common knowledge that whenever there was good rainfall, the river would invariably be in spate. During floods, it would be impossible to cross over to the other side, and the people would have to take a detour.

If Khammapuram were to be annexed to Ariyalur district, the people would have to travel a distance of 120 km, via Vriddhachalam, Thozhudur and Perambalur to attend to official works.

As of now, the bus services to Ariyalur were few and far between.

Easy access

With Cuddalore as the headquarters, they would have to travel hardly 75 km to reach the headquarters.

Mr. Venkatesan further pointed out that for the paddy and sugarcane farmers of Khammapuram, Cuddalore happened to be the major market.

The cane growers were attached to the Penndam Sugar Mill, and therefore, bound by the jurisdictional demarcation of Cuddalore. If it were taken away from Cuddalore, these farmers would find it difficult to get redressed their grievances, arising out of the price, payment or recovery disputes.

They would be at their wit's end as to which district Collector Cuddalore or Ariyalur they should approach. Even the police and court jurisdictions would also change, thus posing problem to the litigant public.

In view of these constraints, the lawyers of Vriddhachalam are boycotting the court there from December 4 to 8. The panchayat presidents, village elders, and lawyers would meet at Vriddhachalam on December 9 to decide on the future course of action.