PUDUCHERRY State buildings close to Dalit areas unused

Debjani Dutta Express News ServiceFirst Published : 25 Jun 2010 11:55:00 PM ISTLast Updated : 25 Jun 2010 09:48:20 AM IST
PUDUCHERRY: Government buildings near Dalit-inhabited areas have remained unused for several years. The building constructed to house the Village Panchayat Office at Ariyur four years back, is yet to be occupied.
N Sarathy, panchayat president, along with 13 members, works in an office functioning from a room on the premises of the Villianur Commune Panchayat. Similarly, the office of the Co-operative Milk Society at Pangur constructed 10 years back by the society has not been used. The milk society office has been functioning from a rented building.
Objecting to such practices, a dalit from Puduvai Thindamai Ozhaipu, along with CPM party cadre, led by G Latha, MLA from Tamil Nadu, took out a rally from Villianur to forcibly occupy the premises in a bid to make the offices functional.
V Perumal, Puducherry CPM Secretary, alleged that just because the offices were close to dalit colonies, refusal to use them was objectionable. However, they were stopped from reaching their destination by the police. “ We have petitioned the Welfare Minister and Co-operation Minister M Kandasamy (who is also from the Scheduled Caste community) and Collector G Ragesh Chandra in this regard two months back. Besides a memorandum was also given to the Lieutenant Governor a week back, but still there is no change in the situation” , he said.
Superintendent of Police (Rural) V Deivasigamani along with Tahsildar Taluk Office, Villianur S Yeswanthaiah pacified the agitators and obtained an assurance from the Minister for Local Administration A Namassivayam for opening of the Village Panchayat office within the next 10 days. “ The minister has also directed the Director of Local Administration to take necessary action in this regard,” said the officials.
A Elumalai, MLA, also a member of SC community, denied that the non-occupation of the Cooperative Milk Society building was due to any bias towards dalits. “The past president of the society Gandhi alias Attioyan was himself a dalit, though the present president is from other caste,” he said and explained that the building has not been occupied as they were contemplating to use the building to raise funds for paying the loans due to the society. As the rent of the present premises was only Rs 300, the society was considering this option.
However, now in the backdrop of allegations, a decision to open the premises would be taken after discussions with the Cooperation Minister, he said.

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