Saturday, Jun 14, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
The JD(U) leaders, who recently toured the town and spoke to the members of the displaced families, told presspersons here today that the demolition was carried out in the guise of widening the existing road which was recently upgraded to a national highway to link Srirangapatna with Humnabad in Bidar District.
The houses were demolished without notice being issued to the families concerned and without an official order.
Among those who addressed the press conference were the President of the JD(U) State unit, N. Thippanna, the senior Vice-President, H.T. Krishnappa, and the national Vice-President, C. Narasimhappa. D.S. Srikantamurthy also accompanied the senior leaders on the visit to Nagamangala.
Subsequent to the visit, Mr. Thippanna wrote a letter to the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, highlighting the manner in which some petty functionaries of the Congress party had misused the name of the Chief minister to execute the demolition.
Mr. Thippanna said the JD(U) was not against upgrading of the existing road to a national highway and widening it. But it was totally against the manner in which the people were rendered homeless.
He said enquiries with the municipal authorities revealed there was no official sanction to demolish the houses and the action was carried out to suit the whims and fancies of "local antisocial elements". The executive engineer of the Public Works Department, while stating that the road was being widened according to national highway standards, maintained he was not a party to the demolition.
The tahsildhar also stated that he was not a party to the demolition and did not have information on who had demolished the compound wall of his office which was located opposite the area where the houses were pulled down. The demolished houses were located on either side of the road.
Mr. Thippanna said the people rendered homeless had to be immediately rehabilitated and provided with alternate sites and money to build houses. The Government should also pay compensation to them for their suffering.
Even as the demolition of the houses was in progress, the victims approached the local legislators and others, but none of them reportedly offered any help.
Many of them lost their belongings, including valuables.
Referring to the drought in the State, Mr. Thippanna said the Government had failed to effectively intervene and most of the agricultural labourers were without employment for months on end.
People were even selling their kitchen utensils to make a living. Cattle were dying without fodder.
District in-charge ministers and legislators had stayed away from their respective areas reflecting the callousness of the authorities in handling the serious drought.
On admissions to professional courses, Mr. Thippanna said the State Government should immediately give effect to the draft notification that it had prepared and go ahead with the admissions. It was unfortunate that the Government, instead of safeguarding the interests of the students, was bent upon protecting the interests of the private institutions.
The JD(U) President, referring to the controversy over the construction of a barrage across the Chitravati in Kolar District, said the BJP, the Telugu Desam Party, and the Congress were attempting to derive political mileage by raising the controversy.
The Chitravati Barrage was a very small dam to provide drinking water to villages in the vicinity and the State Government should go ahead with the project, he added.
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