Chennai, Feb 18 (BPNS)
The residents of ‘O’ –Valley in Gudalur town of Tamil Nadu are up in arms against the state forest department for addressing them as illegal occupants. The leader of the O- Valley Makkal Padhukappu Iyyakam, R. Ranjith while speaking to BPNS said that the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of the area has informed them that the department would provide basic amenities like road and electricity only to tribal people and not to ‘illegal occupants of O- Valley.
He said that the response was to a petition the residents of O- Valley comprising mostly of daily wage earners working in tea plantations had written to the Prime Minister’s Office on the delay in laying of roads in their settlements. The PMO forwarded the letter to the Nilgiris district collector who forwarded it to the DFO. The DFO responded to the O- Valley residents that the forest department would provide basic amenities only to tribal people and not to illegal occupants of O- Valley.
This statement of the DFO, Kommu Omkaram about the residents of the O- Valley has sparked a row and the residents responded that they were not illegal occupants and that they had Aadhar cards and voter ID cards.
Ranjith further said that during election time, the politicians come to the O- Valley settlement for votes and after that, they forget the residents. He also said that there were land issues that the DMK government had promised to solve but even after one year and nine months passed since the DMK came to power nothing had happened.
The O- Valley residents, according to the association leaders are planning massive agitation for the restoration and repair of roads in Seaforth Estate, roads from Gudalur to O- Valley.