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13 Apr 2024, Edition - 3196, Saturday

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Ex-councillor lives on poromboke land for ages

Covai Post Network

    A former councillor of Coimbatore Corporation lives in a small house on a poromboke land near Gandhipuram in the city and has been fighting for the rights of people like him who have settled in the area for more than 85 years.

    The image of MS Velmurugan’s house has been doing rounds in social media for quite some time now with the comment that it was constructed on an encroached land. He was councillor in the corporation as a CPM member from 2006 to 2011. He had represented Ward No 57 then ( now Ward 21) .

    In between, Velmurugan has also changed his party and is now Coimbatore Secretary of CPI(ML).

    He has been living with his family near the Kumaraswamy Lake bund, close to Thadagam Road for over eight decades now.

    Velmurugan, 51, told The Covai Post that he has been living in the area for generations. There are more than 2,500 houses along the 2.5-km stretch on Thadagam Road and it had been declared a wasteland. Most of the people living in the area are Dalits and there are a few migrant workers, he says.

    The corporation has done little for the people in the area. And political parties see us as mere vote banks, he adds.

    “We are ready to move out if government provides us title deed for land to build a new home. Instead, people are being shifted and forced to live in the 150-sqft flats built by the Slum Clearance Board,” he says.

    Velmurugan adds that the Slum Clearance Board tenements are so small that it is practically difficult for a family to stay in it. Worse is that they have been built shabbily because of large scale corruption in construction of flats, he alleges.

    On why he was living on this poromboke land, the former councillor has a clear reply. “I’m staying here to get justice for the people living in this area for more than 85 years, right from the days of British rule. It gives me strength to fight for their rights,” he says.

    Unlike the MPs and MLAs, councillors do not have any salary or pension, except a small amount as sitting fees during their tenure. In case some councillor makes extra money it is through illegal means and has to opposed, Velmurugan asserts.

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