Chengara situation alarming

via K Jayaprakash | ENS - www.expressbuzz.com published on September 4, 2008


KOCHI: Situaton at the Chengara estate is alarming. Over 5,000 landless people, majority of them are women and children, who have occupied the rubber plantation run by the Harrison Malayalam demanding land will perish owing to lack of food and medicine as the supply of these items is blocked by the workers of the plantation, warns the People’s Council for Social Justice (PCSJ) which sent a team for an on the spot assessment of the situation the other day.


PCSJ general secretary M P Krishnan Nair, who led the team, told to this website’s newspaper that there was no food for them. The children and aged people were very weak. They are just surviving by drinking water from a stream in the estate.

“The occupants of the estate under the banner of Sadhu Jana Vimochana Samyukta Vedi are being treated brutally by the unions of plantation workers. The workers did not even allowed the hapless people to take a woman, who developed labour pain, to a hospital. She delivered without any medical assistance,’’ said Krishnan Nair. He said that the team was told by the people that workers and outsiders were physically harassing them and they suspect that they had the backing of the plantation management.

The team found that the police deployed in large numbers in the area were passive spectators, if not supporting the trade unions led by the CITU.

Nair said that there was no yield from majority of rubber trees as they had undergone slaughter-tapping. So there was no point in the allegation that the occupants were selling latex in black market.

The team saw that the people are living under rubber-sheet roofs which are incapable of protecting them from rain and wind.Justice V R Krishna Iyer, who is the chief patron of the PCSJ, wrote letters to the state government and the State Human Rights Commission to intervene immediately and settle the issue amicably.

Meanwhile, the report reaching from Chengara says that tension is mounting in the area as trade unions stick to their stand that they will enter the area on September 3 and drive out the landless occupants.      

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