Saturday, March 3, 2012

[ZESTCaste] Devoid of facilities, Dalits decide to boycott polls

Devoid of facilities, Dalits decide to boycott polls
Ravi Kelangadi, Kalasa, Mar 2, 2012, DHNS:

Pathetic condition of the Harijan colony frustrates Dalits

The plight of Sampigekatte Harijan colony is rather pathetic. The
residents feel that Kalasa Panchayat has forgotten that the colony
belongs to them.

The acute condition of neglect has saddened the residents to the
extent that they say they have nobody coming to their rescue.

The problems existing in the colony are so acute that when one speaks
of problems, there are many more joining to make their voice heard.

Subbaiah, a resident of this colony says that they have been let down
by the elected representatives.

"If there is no one to listen to our problems then why should we elect
a representative? We have decided to boycott Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok
Sabha polls," says Subbaiah.

There are nine houses in the Colony, of which not even one can be
called a complete house. While some houses do not have walls, some
have dry leaves and other materials from areca trees for roof. Doors
and windows too are symbolic. Even as these families are living amidst
squalor, the Panchayat has not done anything to solve the problems of
the residents.

"We have been living here since 35 years. The Panchayat has not given
any funds for either repair or reconstruction of any house here. We
have put up with several monsoons fearing mishap. This year too we
will spend the monsoon under this fear," says Venkatesh pointing at
his dilapidated house.

The main problem in the colony is drinking water crisis. There is only
one motor to fill water into tanks in the colony and Halasikatte. This
old motor cannot be put to continuous use for more than half an hour.
Hence collecting water is the most tedious job in the routine of the
dalit women in this colony.

When this motor was spoilt, the Dalit came forth to repair it by
contributing Rs 50 per house. "If a bore well is dug, then the problem
of water supply can be solved," suggests a housewife Lakshmi as she
waits for water near the tank.

Though there are people eligible to get benefits from Sandhya Suraksha
and Widow Pension schemes, they are not aware of the same. The demand
to have good roads laid in the colony too has not been met yet.

Being daily wage labourers, getting ownership rights over the land on
which they have been living too has become a distant dream.

Balachandra, a youth from the colony who had struggled to get
electricity connection to the colony says that it is not enough if
people sit and crib over problems. What is required is to wage a fight
to get those demands fulfilled. Balachandra and many like him have
taken a stern decision of boycotting the elections this time.


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