'Malekudiyas not to leave forest at any cost'

Attempts are on to evict forest dwellers through NGOs and police, allege villagers

Aadivasi Hakkugala Samanvaya Samithi Grama Samithi President Poovappa Malekudiya said that the forest dwellers of Kuthloor will not come out of the forest at any cost.

Addressing a press meet here on Wednesday, he said: “We will not hand over our land to the government by taking Rs 10 lakh compensation and two acre land. We have been residing inside the forest for generations. However, we are denied of the basic facilities.
We are living on the periphery of the Western Ghats. We have been residing along with the nature, without harming it. After the government declared our village as Kudremukh National Park, we have been facing lot of problems. We are being subjected to torture to come out of the forest. When the ANF sleuths assaulted us, and looted our grains, money and gold, no Chief Minister has met us. Even the district officials have failed to visit us.”

He added: “We are not seeking any compensation. None of the residents in Kuthloor are unemployed. All are engaged in agriculture activities. We have been involved in collecting forest produces. If we leave our land, the smugglers will loot the forest.”

The Samithi taluk convener Shekar L urged the authorities to distribute title deeds to those who do not possess the same and stop harassing the residents in the name of Maoists. The government should not take up any project, that would harm the forest and intimate the villagers in advance on the public contact programmes being organsied by the authorities concerned.

The authorities should furnish complete details on Naxal package scheme, and implement MGNREGS effectively. “If possible, the government should lay good roads, provide transport facilities and electricity to the village,” he said.

He said in the public contact programme held at Kolli, the DC had said that solar lamps have been given and old solar lamps have been repaired, at Kuthloor. In reality, neither solar lamps have been given nor repaired. The DC had promised to start the development works in Naxal affected areas by August 15. Unfortunately, no development works have been started. Though the district administration had announced that there would be no forcible eviction of the forest dwellers, attempts are made to evict the forest dwellers through NGOs and the police, he alleged.

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