Monday, October 5, 2009

Chengara agitation 'resolved': government

5 October 2009

Thiruvananthapuram: The two year-old Chengara land struggle, a movement started by landless Dalits for ownership of land has ended following talks presided by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan Monday.

The leader of Chengara struggle Laha Gopalan stated that they are withdrawing from the struggle though they are not in complete agreement with the package announced by the government.
The talks were held on the basis of a special package formulated by the government in consultation with leaders of Chengara struggle and Opposition leader Oommen Chandy.

Addressing a press conference the Chief Minister said as per the package houses will be constructed for 1432 families who are part of the Chengara agitation.

People belonging to Scheduled Tribe will be given one acre of land, scheduled caste 50 cents. The government will try to implement the package within three months, he said.

While those belonging to Scheduled Tribes will be given houses worth Rs 1.25 lakh, scheduled caste members will be given houses that cost Rs 1 lakh. People in other categories will be provided with houses that cost Rs 75,000.

The struggle led by Laha Gopalan began on August 4, 2007 in the southern plantation belt of Pathanamthitta to gain ownership of land that has been part of a long standing promise of the Government.

Eventually more than 5000 families from different parts of the region moved to the estate owned by the Harrison Malayalam Private Ltd and pitched makeshift tents with poles and plastic sheets signalling a symbolic take over of the land.

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