SUNDAY, 30 SEPTEMBER 2012 23:28 PNS | CHENNAI
The controversy over land grabbing at Karikattukuppam fishing hamlet along the East Coast Road by ‘people in high places’ is snowballing into a major scam of national prominence.
Fishermen from the village have approached Dr Subramanian Swamy, president, Janata Party, with a request to help them regain their land grabbed by a powerful Congress leader and his family members. A group of fishermen led by Jaya Palayan president, South Indian Fishermen Federation called on Dr Swamy in his Chennai residence and sought his guidance in their fight against land sharks along the East Coast Road.
Plots of scenic land originally belonging to the fishermen and abutting the Bay of Bengal have been grabbed by politicians and their families. “There is no rule of law here. People with right connection can get any poromboke land assigned to them if they know the right officials. The government documents have lost their sanctity,” Jaya Palayan told The Pioneer after their meeting with Dr Swamy.
Interestingly, Dr Swamy had asked the State Government last year itself to probe the land dealings in the said village. “The entire land transactions which took place in the region should be thoroughly probed as many discrepancies could be seen in the documents. I am planning to visit Karikattukuppam and nearby areas soon for an on the spot assessment,” Dr Swamy told this newspaper.
What upset the fishermen was the volte face made by officials of the Kancheepuram district administration who demolished the compound wall on a particular stretch of land built by the family members of union finance minister P Chidambaram . “Though they told us that the compound wall was being demolished by them as a follow up to our complaints, within hours they changed their stance and told the media that the wall was demolished by the family of Chidambaram as a good will. We have lost faith in these officials,” said Palayan.
The Pioneer had reported recently about the complaints made by the fishermen to the Tamil Nadu government about encroachments allegedly made by Nalini Chidambaram and Karthi, wife and son of the union finance minister. Though the Chidambaram clan refuted the charges made by the fishermen, the district administration ensured that a portion of the compound wall built by the encroachers were demolished. The officials had assured the fishermen that the remaining part of the high compound wall would be demolished soon. “But we have lost faith in these officials. The documents furnished by them appear fake,” said a resident of Karikattukuppam village.