Twenty five years after 65 families settled down on a piece of land at Sesapuram in W. Pudupatti town panchayat, two Dalit families got power supply for the first time on Monday, thanks to the intervention of Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The houses of Chinnarasu and Karuppaiah were the first to get lights on as they had made basic facilities for getting power supply. During an interaction with the media in May, Ms. Sitharaman came to know of the 65 families of Pariyar community of Sesapuram which did not get electricity supply. She was then explaining the benefits of Grama Swaraj Abhiyan, by which select villages with more than 75% Dalit population would get a slew of benefits, including power supply.

Collector A. Sivagnanam clarified that the power supply could have been denied for people who were living not on patta land. However, the Union Minister said people could not be denied basic infrastructure on any such condition.

The district administration followed up the issue and found that these families, who had moved to the land in 1993, could not be provided the infrastructure as a private person claimed ownership of the land. “The case was fought in courts till 2008 when the High Court order came in our favour,” an ex-serviceman, A.S. Manickam, 73, told
The Hindu
.

People were dependent on taps put up outside Adi Dravidar Colony in Sesapuram for drinking water. “At least 50 students were studying in three schools in the nearby areas. They had to depend on street lights in Old Sesapuram or in the houses of their relatives for doing their home work,” Mr. Manickam said.

A source from W. Pudupatti town panchayat said these people, who were living in Old Sesapuram, had encroached upon government poromboke land and did not have pattas. After the Collector’s intervention, the local body levied property tax on their houses.

After Adi Dravidar Welfare department issued pattas for a few houses, TANGEDCO started providing power supply to the colony. “Work for erecting 26 electric poles on five streets are under way. A majority of the poles have been erected. Today, power supply to two individual houses could be given as they had completed basic wiring and the service line was ready,” Executive Engineer (Distribution) M. Sudalaiyadum Perumal said.

He said TANGEDCO was ready to provide electric supply to all the 65 houses after required clearance from Revenue department and basic wiring at houses. On provision of street lights, he said it had to be decided by the local body.

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