Congress leaders face anger of protesting Niddodi residents

Congress leaders face anger of protesting Niddodi residents

The agitated villagers vent their anger against the proposed 4000 MW capacity ultra mega thermal power project at Niddodi, when a team of Congress leaders led by All India Congress Committee member P V Mohan visited Niddodi on Monday. Bangera Padav witnessed a series of events for three hours as the Congress leaders and villagers came face to face.

The villagers protest against political parties turned violent leading to aggrieved verbal fight and abuse of politicians, even as women folk held broomsticks and sandals to oppose the project. The villagers blocked the road, pelted stones at the press and Congress leaders’ vehicles and even warned of fighting with armed weapons if the government comes forward to implement the project by acquiring agriculture land. The moment when Raitha Sangha leader Rohithaksha Rai said, the team had come to collect opinion of the villagers and submit the report to the senior party leaders, the villagers went furious and shouted, “are you here for political gains? This is the third time political leaders are visiting our village and every time you leave without giving us any clarifications. Why do you come here in different teams? Why can’t political leaders unite and join together to fight? We do not like to mix politics in our fight.”

Villagers flay MLA

The villagers also took an exception at the attitude of local MLA and Youth Services and Sports Minister Abhayachandra Jain for behaving arrogantly with the protesters on Sunday morning. “The MLA’s stand seems to have changed now. He is perhaps, supporting the project. We are disappointed and we do not believe politicians any more. We do not even mind to boycott Lok Sabha polls, if the need arises,” affirmed Mathrubhoomi Samrakshana Samiti President Alphonse D’Souza.

Protesters blocked the vehicle of local panchayat member Ladro D’Costa and also blocked the way of Kalla Mundkur GP President Jockin Correa.

They blamed the local gram panchayat presidents and members for not supporting the fight against the project. However, Jockin clarified that the GP had passed a resolution against the project and forwarded the same to the government.

Despite skipping the lunch, the villagers were firm in not letting the Congress delegation to leave the spot until they get a clear answer for their questions. When P V Mohan said he would submit the report to Union Minister Oscar Fernandes, the protesters demanded him to speak to Oscar then and there and surrounded him by warning of not letting him until the issue is resolved. Finally, the crowd dispersed after Mohan took an oath on his mother’s name, of submitting the report in favour of villagers.

The delegation will submit the report to Oscar Fernandes and AICC General Secretary and Karnataka In-charge Digvijay Singh.

A wake-up call?

Even amidst the fight, villagers have felt that all ‘arrangements’ are being made by the government behind the screen to implement the project. Recent developments like, the forest department surveying the land for eviction of people from Kumki and convert it as deemed forest, banks in the town refusing to lend loans to villagers for agriculture and infrastructure development, has made them wonder whether their fight will be a futile attempt.

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