Displaced Kuttetturu residents left homeless

Displaced Kuttetturu residents left homeless

On a fateful day, residents of government colony in Kuttetturu Village, daily wage labourers, had left for work only to return and find their homes demolished and their belongings dumped near a tree. It has been 23 years since then. MRPL allegedly initiated forceful displacement of residents of government colony in Kotteturu and no compensation has been paid till date.

Briefing reporters, Udupi Human Rights Protection Foundation President Dr Ravindranath Shanbhag said on 31-08-1972, Subraya Acharya, a landless labourer was allotted 3 cents of land in Survey No 175/2 in Kuttetturu village of Mangalore Taluk. Upon availing loan of Rs 400 from Karnataka Housing Board, Subraya Acharya constructed a house.

Similarly, 10 other residents, all landless labourers, in the said colony, availed loan to construct their homes in the land allotted to them, being portions of Survey Number 175/2, and they remained in peaceful possession of the said properties for close to two decades.

On the fateful day, Subraya Acharya collapsed after he learnt about his home being demolished. Tukramma, Appi Poojary, Kamalakka and other residents of colony identified the remnants of their demolished homes like windows, doors, etc. from the debris and gathered the same, he added.

Following the said demolition, it became almost a fulltime job for Acharya and other such displaced residents to go to the land acquisition office and MRPL office seeking compensation.

However, MRPL and land acquisition authorities refused to provide any rehabilitation unless displaced residents furnished proof of title.

The title deeds, which were not given much importance, were part of debris following the demolition. Being illiterate, displaced residents did not know how to obtain title deeds which were destroyed during demolition. However, upon obtaining a confirmation deed, Subraya Acharaya was relocated to an alternate site.

The monetary compensation and the compensation in lieu of not opting for MRPL employment were never provided, he said.

The other residents namely Appi Poojary, Kamala Poojary, Balakrishna Naik, Nagappa Moily, Marcel D’Souza, Bhavani Poojary and Thimmu Poojary were provided no relief whatsoever, not even relocation.

Out of them Appi, Kamala, and Marcel D’Souza have long since passed away. One Mary who was staying in a shed provided by the local church passed away three months ago. The whereabouts of Dhoomanna’s son, Tukramma and Balakrishna remain unknown.

In the year 2006, after having conceded to the entitlement of the said displaced residents, Santhosh Kumar Kadri, PRO of MRPL, through a letter dated 20-12-2006 assured that upon the special land acquisition authority certifying Subraya Acharya’s claim and his title as being correct, MRPL would facilitate suitable rehabilitation package to be provided to him.

The Karnataka Housing Board through its letter dated 23.05.1992 intimated that since the displaced residents had availed loan to construct homes, they had mortgaged the properties by way of deposit of original title deeds and subsequently, the said deeds pertaining to the land of the displaced residents were with the Karnataka Industrial Development Board.

The displaced families owe a sum of Rs 1,38,135/- to the Karnataka Housing Board in lieu of the loan availed by them to construct the homes. Accordingly the Special Land Acquisition Authority, MRPL should pay the said dues to the Karnataka Housing Board so as to get the original title deeds released which will then result in the rehabilitation package being released to the displaced residents.

In a letter dated 28-07-201, the Special Land Acquisition Authority took strong exception to the fact that MRPL was yet to release the said amount to the KHB to facilitate the release of the original title deeds in respect of the homes of the Authority and MRPL.

The Special Land Acquisition Authority reminded MRPL several times thereafter to facilitate repayment of the dues to the KHB, but no avail. Far from repaying the amounts to the KHB, MRPL instead requested the Board to waive of the repayment of the loans due to it.

The management of MRPL fails to realise that their request reflects poorly on the Birla Group’s sense of integrity or concern. Out of 11 families displaced from the demolitions, members of five such families have already died.

Not tenable

Meanwhile, MRPL, in a press release, stated that the claim of claimants is legally not tenable for various reasons. However, on 18/08/2009 and on 08/03/2010, Special DC, KIADB wrote letters to MRPL to pay Rs. 1,38,135/- to KIADB towards Loan repayment to KHB on humanitarian grounds.

Considering the above said letters from KIADB, on 25/08/2010 MRPL replied to SLAO, KIADB that MRPL is willing to make the payment of RS. 1,38,130/- on Humanitarian grounds, to close KHB loan,  out of MRPL’s CSR budget with the precondition of obtaining and submitting an undertaking by all 11 applicants to the effect that there will not be any further claim in respect of those lands in future on any account.

KIADB did not reply to MRPL’s proposal, till date on the issue of providing No Claim Certificate first and of receiving the payment thereafter, the release stated and added that the MRPL has written another letter dated 06/02/2015 to Special DC, KIADB, Bangalore, stating that MRPL is willing to pay the amount to KIADB, on humanitarian grounds, on receipt of undertaking from 11 applicants that there will not be any further claims in respect of those lands in future on any account.
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