Express News Service
KRISHNAGIRI: Members of a scheduled caste living at Sembarakovai in Natrampalayam are set to lose access to the main road as landowners who till now allowed the use of their plots has allegedly restrained them. For decades, Arunthathiyars have been passing through patta land of caste Hindus to reach the main road. But they have now been told not to use them and Arunthathiyars have appealed to the government for help.
Sembarakovai comes under Natrampalayam panchayat in Anchetti and is situated at the foothills of Marimalai. The village has 60 families and half of them are Arunthathiyars. E Periyasamy (40), a resident of the Arunthathiyar settlement, said, “There is no bitumen or cement road from our settlement to the main road. We have been using 100 metres owned by Selvam and Venkatappan (caste Hindus) as approach road. Even the main road is on land owned by Nagaraj, a caste Hindu.” Recently, Venkatappans allegedly told them to take an alternative route from next year stating that he had other plans as the land value increased in the region.
S Jaya (48), another Arunthathiyar, said, “A month ago, Venkatappan told me the same. If the land is blocked, how will we reach the road?”
While Venkatappan was unavailable for comment, Selvam confirmed the development and said he would not allow the laying of bitumen or cement road through his land. He added that he would go with the decision taken by other caste Hindu landowners.
Natrampalayam panchayat president G Selvi said she would convene a meeting with stakeholders and try to lay a road. District Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Officer S Shanti said, “A special tahsildar would visit the village on Thursday to grasp the situation. We will then decide whether to acquire lands of the caste Hindus or settle the issue through negotiations.”
No Village Health Nurse visit
Apart from the road issue, A Velankanni (27) said village health nurses (do not visit the settlement due to bad roads. “We have to visit the anganwadi for vaccination or get nutrition powder. The VHN last visited the village three months ago.” When contacted, Anchetti Upgraded Primary Health Centre in-charge medical officer Ashok said the VHN was visiting anganwadi to administer vaccines to children and added that he would check if she was visiting the village.