A habitation with 138 dwellings at Valiyala under Kadayal town panchayat in Kanniyakumari district has been living without power connections for decades. The habitation is not in a position to be a beneficiary of Deendayal Upadhayaya Gram Jyoti Yojana for rural electrification due to legal tangles, according to C. Boopathy, secretary, Valiyala Farmers’ Association.
Mr. Boopathy said that the 165-acre-land was originally gifted by the then Travancore rulers to those who had settled at Valiyala to eke out a living during famine nearly 72 years ago. Since then, four generations are living without electricity and are wholly dependent on solar energy. As the residents do not have pattas, they are unable to avail themselves of government schemes. But settlers in an area of 69 acres have got their pattas.
“The rest of the residents living in an area of 99 acres pay taxes but do not have power connections due to legal tangles for over four generations,” Mr. Boopathy said.
They have solar lamps provided by the DMK government but their television sets are idle.
Against all odds, many students of this village have excelled in studies and over 200 of them are pursuing higher education in various colleges.
Five years ago, TANGEDCO officials brought 19 lamp posts for installation but were unable to proceed due to objections raised by the Forest department, Mr. Boopathy said.
When contacted, a top TANGEDCO official said that they were unable to provide electricity to this village due to objections from by the Forest department. A district-level forest official told The Hindu that residents (non-tribals) were living in the forest land for many years.
Since many cases were pending in various courts on this issue, only the government could solve it amicably, the official said.