'How green was my valley'

The Patraos lost their home for an industrial giant, but remain defiant

'How green was my valley'

The family members with the help of like-minded people have constructed a temporary shed in the demolished site. They have also bought a few vessels, glasses, mattress and other essential commodities. As the power supply too has been snapped, the family lives in dark during nights.

The family members could not sleep on Thursday night as it rained heavily and the rainwater started seeping inside the temporary shelter. Alleging that the KIADB officials “robbed” his belongings, Patrao said that he refused to sign the list of articles (the officials have listed 101 items) as they did not shift the belongings as per the procedure.

The articles ‘seized’ by the KIADB officials include 2 TV sets, 2 refrigerators, 8 fans, cup boards, about 15 quintal rice, 50 kg cattle feed, 15 quintal arecanut and several agricultural equipment including a 1.5 HP pumpset, claims Gregory. “They also took our cattle feeding vessels and the chains used to tie dogs,” says Mary Patrao, the head of the family, who could not control her emotions. The family is planning to file a private complaint against the KIADB in the court. Speaking to Deccan Herald, Gregory Patrao, who broke down quite often, said for the first time in the history of his family he bought rice.

“We have never bought rice from shop,” he said and challenged the authorities do what they want to move the family.  Incidentally, Gregory’s elder brother Fredrick claimed that the demolished house has a oral history of over three centuries as it is said that Goan missionaries were conducting holy mass in the house before the construction of Pejavar Church which is 332 years old.

Gregory target?

Patrao also alleged that he was targeted by the authorities as he fought against the MRPL for the last 16 years.  “There are many families who have received compensation from MRPL for the acquired land. But still continue to live in their own houses, in Kalavar itself,” he charged and added that his structures on unacquired land (with door numbers) too have been demolished.

In GP polls fray

Interestingly, the undeterred Gregory Patrao, the former vice president of Bala gram panchayat, is contesting the gram panchayat polls scheduled to be held on May 12. “On one hand the government says that it will not forcibly acquire land and evict the farmers, but on the other hand, it uses force to evict farmers by violating human rights,” quips William D’Souza, the vice president of Krishi Bhoomi Samrakshana Samithi.

Inhuman

Terming the demolition of the house belonging to Gregory Patrao as inhuman, Udupi Pejavar Mutt Seer Sri Vishweshatheertha swamiji said that he is deeply saddened by the move of the authorities concerned for “misusing the law.” He also said that he would visit the family in Kalavar on May 3.

The cattle — 7 cows, 2 buffaloes, 2 oxen, over 50 chicken, 4 dogs and 2 cats, over 3,500 arecanut trees, over 250 coconut trees, vanilla, vegetables and paddy fields with standing crop are mute witnesses to ongoing incidents of a helpless family.

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