Ten years after Maoist shootout, Devarabalu awaits amenities

Adjacent hamlets Kattinadi, Kabbinale too share a similar fate

Ten years after Maoist shootout, Devarabalu awaits amenities

Walking all through 10 years holding dreadful memory of a live encounter that took place, wherein two Maoists were killed seems to be a awful experience for 60-year-old Narasimha Naik, in Devarabalu.

The infamous Devarabalu shootout has gone down memory lane of villagers in Devarabalu and two other adjacent hamlets, Kattinadi and Kabbinale. All these 10 years has brought no major change in the lives of these people, except for identification in the pages of the history as residents of Devarabalu, wherein two Maoists, Umesh and Ajith Kusubi were killed in ANF encounter that took place on June 23, 2005. 

The area as similar to any other Maoist affected region is laced with poverty and unhygienic conditions. Besides, it lacks good roads, clean drinking water, footbridges to rivulets found in large number in the forest cover, inadequate power supply, lacks toilet facilities, schools, healthcare centres and scarce transport facilities with no telephone connectivity.

Title deeds

The remote hamlets come under Hallihole gram panchayat, which covers Hallihole and Kamalsheele villages with 4,777.93 hectares of landmass. The total population is 4,292, of which 407 belong to SC community and 560 belong to ST community. Devarabalu, Kattinadi and Kabbinale villages are dominated by SC/ST communities. 

The major problem of residents of Devarabalu and Kattinadi is title deeds. They are deprived of documents as they are neither considered as natives of Udupi nor of Shimoga district. The border controversy has snatched ownership privilege to lands of these people who are in lynching position, as they cannot avail the benefit of government schemes. 

However, the advantage for ST community people is that they are given title deeds under Girijana Upa Yojane. Irony, is that these people have their voting power in Udupi and are given ration cards by Udupi district administration and they pay house tariff in Udupi. Majority work as daily wage workers and some go to nearby cashew nut factory. 

Narasimha Naik who declined to unravel the chain of events enrolled 10 years ago before him told Deccan Herald he will not reveal anything other than that the incident was very terrific experience. He said police being good to him all these days are frequently visiting the areas to ensure nil movements of Maoists.

He said he has not found a single Maoist in the area since the encounter. Not so happy with the government, Naik said the government has partially fulfilled the assurances in the aftermath, but not entirely. The power supply was provided after two years.

The 90-year-old lady Daru Naik accused politicians for visiting the area only during elections.

Chakra River bridge

The other major problem for the people in Devarabalu and Kattinadi is the bridge for the Chakra River. They cross the river with just three wooden polls which connects them to Kabbinale and Chakra Maidan, from where they get their groceries and children go to schools. The newly elected gram panchayath president Bhagirathi Kattinadi rues saying that it is horrible experience to cross the river during rainy season owing to huge tides.

Children are worst sufferers. She now has plans to urge government to release funds to construct the bridge across the river and proper roads covering all three villages. She said the Maoists would frequently visit houses prior to the encounter.

The only source of drinking water is Chakra River as there are no wells and borewells. Villagers suffer in both monsoon and summer, as the water is contaminated during rains and there is scarcity of water in the river during summer.

There is no telephone connection and villagers do not want to recall their nastiest experiences during emergencies when their relatives fall ill. The villages have not received any funds under naxal package since four years.

The inhabitants in these hamlets have encompassed 10 years of miles stones expecting changes every day for better living conditions. In vain, their expectations remain disappointed and seem to be a distant dream never comprehended.

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