Ballurugudde villagers threaten to boycott polls

Last Updated 23 March 2014, 17:45 IST

Residents lose faith on politicians after 35 years of wait 

It was quiet a long wait by Ballurugudde villagers, near Padil. They believed the assurances of people’s representative’s and waited for last 35 years that one or the other would meet their demands.

Now they have made it clear that they will boycott the ensuing Lok Sabha elections and any other polls till they get basic facilities. Frustrated villagers protested against the administration and showed black flags, on Sunday. 

Interestingly, Ballurugudde village which is close to the highway near Padil, has around 400 to 450 houses and a population of around 3,000. It was included in Mangalore City Corporation (MCC) as 52nd ward (Kannur), 11 years ago.

“We didn’t get any benefit out of that. Our village doesn’t hav e gram panchayat- level facilities like drinking water, roads, drainage system, waste management, primary health centre etc. Moreover, the railway line which passes through the village has become a curse to the village,” said village resident Iqbal. 

Only assurances 

Many residents of low-lying areas of Nethravathi river moved to Ballarugudde in 1974, when the district witnessed biggest ever flood which inundated all low lying areas in City. Later on, a railway line was laid which passes through Kannur and Ballurugudde, after the authorities concerned assured of all facilities to the villagers. “However, the assurances have remained only on paper till date,” said Mohammed Inthiqab, a resident, and added that they have voted for every party including the Congress, BJP, JD(S) and SDPI.

 “But, they used us a vote bank. They are visiting the village only once in five years seeking votes. We have voted for  Oscar Fernandes, Vinay Kumar Sorake, Vijay Kumar Shetty, Krishna J Palemar, Kumble Sundar Rao, B Janardhan Poojary and Nalin Kumar Kateel. But, everyone enjoyed power but never bothered to help us,” he said.

“Once we had decided to boycott an election demanding solutions to our problems, but the then MP Janardhan Poojary’s son assured of solving our problem, which was proved fake later. The present MP Nalin Kumar Kateel never visited the village after last elections. MLA J R Lobo had visited once, but it was of no use,” he said. 

“We are not begging for anything, but we are asking our rights. We are paying tax, according to the norms of MCC. People’s representatives should remember that we have voted them and now they are under an obligation of providing our rights to us,” he added. 

Problems galore 

Many passenger and goods trains pass through the stretch which is between Kannur and Ballurgudde. The children from Ballurgudde have to come to Kannur for school. But, parents are always worried about their children as there is no railway crossing.

Sometimes children have to creep under the goods trains. As there is no proper road, pregnant and elders who face emergency health problems have to be carried in chair till the main road. Sometimes, they have to wait for the train to cross the stretch. In three cases, women have delivered on the way. If it is night, the problem is more serious, said an elder resident. “No body wants to give their daughters married to this village, because of its condition,” rues another person. 

“We can’t transport goods through vehicle as there is no road. So, we have to pay a minimum charge of Rs 60 to carry a bundle of wooden pieces from main road to the village. We are daily wage labourers and we can’t spend money for these things,” said Abdulla, a beedi worker, who is residing in the village since 1972. 

Along with this, the village is facing drinking water problem. The taluk Panchayat had built two water tanks, but both have become useless within year because of poor quality of work. Now, though there is a Syntex tank, it is not proper, the villagers alleged and said: “Now we don’t believe any assurances, but want our demands solved”. 

(Published 23 March 2014, 17:44 IST)

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