Thursday, October 8, 2009

Once fertile village on brink of abandonment

S M Arun
First Published : 03 Oct 2009 04:42:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 03 Oct 2009 09:39:43 AM IST

THOOTHUKUDI: The parched twin villages of Melaramarayarpuram and Keelaramarayarpuram in Thoothukudi district were once high yielding fertile lands rich with paddy, maize and millet cultivation. Of the two, Keelaramarayarpuram is already deserted and Melaramarayarpuram is on the brink of abandonment due to absence of basic amenities.

J Prabakar of SINFPAD, that conducted a study on these villages, told Express that around 150 families belonging to THE Vaathirayar community (Scheduled caste) inhabited these villages for six generations right from the zamindari period.

“Melaramarayarpuram presently has a population of eight persons (2 men and 6 women) and they are all ready to abandon the village due to absence of basic amenities in the village”, said Prabakar. The village’s name ‘Keelaramarayarpuram’ was last spotted in the government records in 1995, he added.

Jeyapaul, one of the eight inhabitants of Melaramarayarpuram told this reporter that the migration started 30 years ago as the place was found to be inauspicious.

“Failure in seasonal rainfall and low ground water level forced the people to abandon agriculture and migrate to other places”, he added.

Melaramarayarpuram now has two families, that of Jeyapal and Amirthakani.

The nearest shop in sight is at Vembar, 3km away from the village. Jeyapaul has founded a committee called ‘Village Development Committee’ with the support of other migrants and is trying to rejuvenate the village.

“Though the government is working on developing the villages through the Five Year plans and also through the Anna Marumalarchi Thittam, it is unfortunate that the twin villages have not benefited by any schemes”, said Prabakar. He added that the situation arose in these villages because of the complete absence of basic amenities. He emphasized that the government should provide alternative housing for these last eight inhabit
ants at least, as bringing the village back to life is practically impossible


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