People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 51

December 19, 2010




Pallavada Village Poor Occupy Govt Land


ADJACENT to the Andhra Pradesh border, Pallavada village is situated in Gummidipoondi taluka of Tiruvallur district in Tamilnadu. There is more than 750 acres of government land here, but it has so far been under the benami occupation of some Congress politicians like Thangabalu and other vested interests. The poor people of the village have been denied even one single acre of this land. In the past, the village poor --- the scheduled tribe, scheduled caste and backward class people, and others --- had to wage many a struggle since 2005 to press the demand that the rich people must be evicted from the government land and that the land must be given to the landless poor. On September 5, 2008, they conducted a Road Roko agitation, with a large participation by women, on the Kavaripettai National Highway, because they had earlier been detained by the police when they were going to meet the chief minister to hand him over a memorandum demanding land to the landless poor, as per the two-acre scheme announced by the chief minister. During the Road Roko agitation, the revenue officials and police officials approached the leaders and held a negotiation on their demand.


The assurance at the time was that the authorities would evict the rich people from the government land on October 5 and 6, 2008, and an agreement to this effect was signed. But the authorities cleared only a part of the encroachment. Demanding the clearance of the rest of land under encroachment and its allotment to the landless poor, the people of the village had to demonstrate before the taluka office at Gummidipoondi on December 1, 2008. Then the rest of the encroachment was also cleared.


Unnerved by this situation, the encroachers then came back to village, along with their henchmen, to forcibly grab the land. But the village people resisted them and drove them away. Agricultural workers of the village occupied the mango trees and harvested mangoes in a nearly 100 acres area. Some encroachers later approached the Madras High Court. But the All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU) got itself impleaded in the case in order to defeat their attempt.


On January 20, 2009, the All India Agricultural Workers Union staged a dharna before the taluka office at Gummidipoondi, in which AIAWU state president G Veeraiyan and state treasurer G Mani also participated. The tehsildar of Gummidipoondi assured them that he would forward their petition to the collector of Tiruvallur district with the recommendation that the land under consideration must be allotted to the landless poor. The dharna was preceded by a big public meeting in Pallavada village.


However, the district administration did not heed the demand. So it was decided that the village people must first occupy the land and then demand pattas for the same.


On November 29, 2010, agricultural workers of the village were subdivided into 13 groups. The group leaders then held a meeting and decided the course of action.


On November 30, 2010, with the help of other villagers, the landless poor and their family members occupied the land by sowing seeds. They were led by AIAWU leaders A Lazer and S Thirunavukkarasu as well as CPI(M) district secretary K Selvaraj, CPI(M) state committee member B Sundararajam and district level leaders of the All India Kisan Sabha and AIAWU. The people occupied more than 400 acres of land in the early morning on the day.


At 10 o’clock, the revenue officials and police officials appeared on the spot. The villagers put forward the demand the issuance of pattas for the occupied lands and of the ‘B’ memo as an interim step to ensure the crops. The officials assured that necessary steps would be taken with the consent of the district collector.


Now that more than 400 acres of the government land is in the hands of the village people, the AIAWU has decided to continue the struggle till land pattas are allotted to the landless poor of the village.