Collector’s intervention sought in construction of culvert near Uthapuram

‘Caste Hindus have been blocking officials from taking up work’

Villagers of the SC community in Pottalpatti under Uthapuram panchayat have sought intervention of the district administration in construction of a bridge over a drainage channel.

The panchayat sanctioned ₹6.75 lakh for construction of the culvert on government poramboke land in 2019-20. However, whenever the contractor tried to clear the land to start work, caste Hindus blocked it, they said.

In his petition, Paraiyar Uravinmurai president K. Rajendran said the caste Hindus were irked after the SC community bought two acres of land for their use. “The caste Hindus wanted to buy the land. Since we bought it, they have a grudge against us.”

After three rounds of talks at tahsildar and revenue divisional officer level, when the officials arrived to start work for the third time on Monday, they were stopped by the caste Hindus, M. Muthupandi, another leader, said.

A local resident, C. Muniyandi, 43, said the culvert would help them reach the bus stand in the shortest time.

“At present, caste Hindus of 18 houses on the other side of the drainage use our street for all routine work such as going to school and work and also to take cattle. Neither have we objected nor there was any altercation between the two groups,” he said.

If the culvert was constructed, it would be a public pathway that would benefit even the caste Hindus. “We fear if construction is further delayed, officials might shelve the project. The BDO says the funds cannot be kept indefinitely without taking up the work and they have to surrender it,” he added.

The issue was taken up with the Collector even during a recently held district-level Vigilance and Monitoring Committee meeting.

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