Update : AIALA Demo in Tamilnadu

All India Agricultural Labourers’ Association (AIALA) organized a panchayat-level demonstration in Tamil Nadu (March 5-15) demanding inclusion in BPL list, work under MGNREGA, Rs.200 daily wages under MGNREGA, homestead land and patta. A Signature campaign on these demands was taken up and the signatures were submitted to the authorities through demonstration. These campaigns were held all over TN in 36 panchayats of 15 blocks. 12433 signatures were obtained and 9375 rural poor were mobilized in the demonstrations. In all about 10400 memoranda were submitted by them in Pudukottai (10 panchayats in 4 blocks), Cuddalore (1 panchayat), Villupuram (8 panchayats in 3 blocks), Tanjore (3 panchayats), Nagai and Tiruvallore (4 panchayats in 2 blocks each) and Madurai (4 panchayats).

Demonstrations were organized in front of four Panchayat Offices in Madurai District on March 10. At Ramaiyan Patti Panchayat, more than 200 women assembled in front of the Panchayat Office with empty pots. The village President, a Dalit woman, had sanctioned more private connections (reportedly in exchange for bribes) to high caste people and they were diverting water from the supply line with their motorized connections, causing water scarcity to all the poor people. Protestors demanded immediate disconnection of all motorized connections. The protest followed a week-long campaign on this issue. The powerful households responded by warning the President with dire consequences if she dared to disconnect. Under pressure, the President fled from her office on the evening of 10 March. The protesters demanded that the President personally appear and receive the petition, but she remained adamant. Protestors led by Comrade Usha decided to march to the house of the president, but the police denied permission and warned of severe action. When the protestors declared their intention to violate police orders, the police had no option but to instruct the President to appear in person. The President then came and received the petitions and promised disconnection of all illegal connections; she also demanded that the Party should defend her actions. With assurance from both sides the struggle came to an end.

In Kattakulam more than 100 protestors assembled demanding disclosure of the BPL list and details of NREGA. The protestors demanded that names of the BPL beneficiaries listed should be made available for public scrutiny so that the list commands credibility. The officials agreed to provide a copy of the list within a week.

In Kutaladampatti more than 300 assembled after completing NREGA work. The President of the Panchayat escaped the scene. In Andipatty nearly 100 assembled in the evening in front of the Panchayat Office. The Panchayat President and Clerk met the people and promised to provide the present BPL list and also agreed to provide BPL certificate to the people who apply for any welfare scheme.

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