Mangaluru: Villagers of Balkunje, Kollur and Ullepady in distress following land acquisition by KIADB
Photos: Abhijith N Kolpe
Daijiworld Media Network – Mangaluru (ANK)
Mangaluru. June 12: Villagers of Balkunje, Kollur and Ullepady continue to protest against the decision to acquire over 1,039 acres of land by the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB), comprising mainly agricultural land.
The villagers, whose main income comes from farming, are now in dire straits as they have nowhere to go. About 170 families depend mainly on income from agriculture. This is shocking for the villagers because they never knew that KIADB had acquired their land. They claim that they have never received notice of this before. This seems to them to have come to their notice out of the blue. People are now protesting united against this injustice and are trying to prevent this action by the KIADB, which aims to industrialize the whole country.
However, the KIADB would have issued notices to each house to leave its residential area as well as agricultural land as soon as possible. The defenseless villagers had a strong connection to their lands as it had been bequeathed to them by their ancestors. They would never wish to hand over these precious goods for industrialization purposes by the KIADB, which they have been cultivating for a very long time.
The communities residing in these regions are mainly the members of the Koraga community and the region is considered a holy place. There are 42 deities and 10 daivasthanas in the particular region. Every year the Koraga community organizes certain rituals at Daivastanas in Balkunje. It is a holy place for them forever.
Speaking to Daijiworld, Vice President of St Paul’s Church, Balkunje Pastoral Committee, Freeda Rodrigues said, “It is heartbreaking to witness this situation. Various means have been adopted to acquire this land, which extends over an extent of 1,039 acres for industrial purposes. The population of these three villages mainly depends on agriculture like rubber, areca nut and many others. The land has belonged to the villagers for generations. How is it possible for them to part with their land and sacrifice it for industrial purposes? Many MPs are not even aware of the land acquisition. Recently, when we went to deliver the memorandum to Minister Murugesh Nirani, he did not accept it.
The parish priest of St. Paul’s Church in Balkunje, Father Gilbert D’Souza, said: “Due to the acquisition of land, the inhabitants of the three villages would be in great difficulty and would have nowhere to go. This decision by the KIADB is simply unacceptable.”
Gram panchayat chairman Mamatha Poonja said, “We will support the villagers on this issue of land acquisition. We were totally unaware of this action and the steps taken by KIADB to acquire the land for industrial purposes. leave their lands and homes. We will continue to fight against this oppressive movement.