Sunday, January 02, 2005

Onsite Update :: from Siddhamma in Killai

Dear Friends,

Here is a short update from Siddhamma today.

Geetha Ramakrishnan from NAPM who is working with the women's groups in Nagapattnam amd Kanyakumari has joined Siddhamma today in her work with Killai. The policy discussions with the govt continued. The govt wants to create the temp homes for the villages which were completely destroyed in a completely different area.

Q: What is the reason for the govt proposal?
A: They are saying that there is the risk factor of putting the homes near the sea. There is, however, plenty of land available further from the sea a few km from the beach where the homes can be built. The issue is that something similar happened in Chennai a little while back when the ppl near the beach were displaced to an area very far away from the beach and it made their livelyhood very difficult. The same is unfortunately happening here.

Q: How far away is the homes for the existing proposal?
A: It is not completely clear, but it is even beyond the Killai area.

Q: I'm not sure I understand why?
A: The govt wanted to have a clean beach so they could increase tourism. The only difference is that ppl here actually own the land and are not tenants as in the earlier case. Legally, the land can't be claimed by the govt in this case. The villagers are hoping that they can get land from the govt instead. There is also a group of activist lawyers who are looking at two things:

- If a body has not been traced the Govt is not giving any compensation.
- Those villages who have not lost homes are currently not under a compensation scheme. She is now in touch with the TNSF efforts with other villages in the Killaiarea. The issue for the villagers at this point is that they can't immediately go to work and require food.

Q: I wanted to remind you that you need to send me the specific cases of ppl affected by bribes to specific govt officials so we can take some action.
A: Geeta is actually working on this and I should be able to send this info soon.

Q: I need a detailed survey of the villages you are working with.
A: Everyone here has been out on the field and we haven't had the timeto do this at this time. Will do this whenever it is possible.

Q: What is the situation near Pulligat lake?
A: Namita visited Nandiamdakkam and Sunnabikudam with the supplies. When she was there the MLA Sudarshan from Gummdaipundi came and promised Sunnabikudam that they would receive Rs. 3000 for each family and 15 kg of rice.

Q: When will they receive it?
A: Not sure, it was supposed to come today. Need to find more information tomorrow and check if they received it.