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Kodavas seek change in BC category tag

By Our Staff Correspondent

MADIKERI, NOV. 25. Representatives of Kodava, Kodagu-Gowda and other communities in Kodagu district on Wednesday submitted memoranda to the Chairman of the Backward Classes Commission, S. Siddagangaiah, to include them in Category II A as "backward classes" for deriving benefits under various government schemes.

The president of the Madikeri Kodagu Gowda Sangha, P. Anantaram, said that Kodagu Gowda community members who spoke "Aregannada" and "Tulu" languages in Kodagu and Dakshina Kannada districts should be removed from category III A and placed in category II A as they were different from the Gowda community living elsewhere in the State. They were primarily agriculturists.

The Kodagu Gowdas, who consider themselves as belonging to the "Hattu Kutumba Hadinentu Bali" group, mostly lived in areas that received the highest rainfall in Madikeri taluk.

Their lands were infertile. They were educationally and socially backward. The community did not want to be called a "sub-caste" either to the Vokkaligas or other Gowdas in the State.

The Kodagu Gowdas were considered a backward class when Kodagu was a Part "C" State, but the Karnataka Government had placed them wrongly among the Vokkaligas, he said.

`Shun wrong notion'

A similar demand was made by the president of the Akhila Kodava Samaja, Matanda C. Monnappa, urging the commission to remove Kodavas from category II B and include them in II A. Mr. Monnappa appealed to the State Government to shun the notion that all Kodavas were well placed and socially and economically forward. The landholdings and annual income levels could be taken into account to assess the living standards of the Kodava community members, Mr. Monnappa said.

Mr. Monnappa said that most of the Kodavas were small and marginal agriculturists and a majority of them lived below the poverty line. There were many who were landless and without shelter. The Kodava community was a unique one. Though they were in a majority among the principal inhabitants in Kodagu, they were a minority in terms of spoken language as per Census 2001.

The president of the Kodava Samaja, Virajpet, Vasu Nanjappa; the vice-president of the Akhila Kodava Samaja, Rally Joyappa; and the former president of the Karnataka Kodava Sahitya Academy, Raja Nanjappa, were present on the occasion.

The Parivara Bunta Sangha representative, B.G. Raghunath Naik, who is also a zilla panchayat member, said that there were over 6,000 Parivara Bunta members in Kodagu, Kasaragod and Dakshina Kannada districts. He appealed to the commission to include the community in category I instead of the present category III B. Currently, the Parivara Bunts were included in the main "Bunt" category. The "Bunts" were economically forward, he said.

The commission recorded the proceedings pertaining to all appeals. The member-secretary of the commission, A.L. Umesh, gave an account of the functioning of the commission.

Other community representatives who submitted petitions to the commission included those from "Kodava Nayar," "'Nayinda," "Padati" and members of the Codava National Council.

Earlier, Mr. Siddagangaiah and members of the commission, S.V. Amin, U. Bhupati and B.K. Ravi, reviewed progress with regard to backward classes under various departments. The district Backward Class officer was rapped for not implementing government schemes, including admission of backward class students to hostels in the district.

The progress of various schemes implemented by the departments of Industries and Commerce, Agriculture, Horticulture, Sericulture, Employment Exchange, Fisheries, Khadi and Village Industries and Health were reviewed.

The Chief Executive Officer of the zilla panchayat, P.L. Budihal, assured the commission that the zilla panchayat would strive to take the benefits of all government programmes in the district to the backward classes.

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