Rajkot again: farmer family held after mass suicide bid

Two men and two women of the family from Khatli village of Jamkandorana taluka of Rajkot district reached the collector office in an autorickshaw with two cans of kerosene at 12 pm.

Written by Express News Service | Rajkot | Published: May 1, 2013 3:17:29 am

Apperently taking a cue from the Nepalese family which had allegedly committed mass suicide early this month,a farmer family attempted to immolate themselves on the premises of Rajkot district collector office on Tuesday alleging scam in NREGA work. However,policemen present on the spot prevented the act and detained them.

Two men and two women of the family from Khatli village of Jamkandorana taluka of Rajkot district reached the collector office in an autorickshaw with two cans of kerosene at 12 pm. However,policemen detained them before they could do anything.

The family had sent a letter to collector on April 20 threatening to commit mass suicide on Tuesday and hence the police were on guard.

The four have been identified as Govind Sondarva (70),his sister-in-law Aluben (50),nephew Rasik (25) and Rasik’s wife Usha (22).

Rasik claimed despite they having not applied for any NREGA work,then village sarpanch Lakshmi Sondarva,her husband Ramnik and government officers connived to siphon off Rs 1.16 lakh funds under Central scheme. He alleged that the sarpanch got sanctioned a Rs1.16-lakh fund under NREGA work of digging a well on the basis of forged documents of his land in 2009. However,the well was dug up on a piece of land which belonged to the sarpanch,Pradyuman Nagar police said.

“We had complained to authorities,including the Governor,to take action but nothing happened. Hence,we had to sent the letter to collector on April 20 stating we would commit mass suicide on April 30 if justice was not done,” Rasik,who belongs to schedule cast,said.

Under NAREGA,individuals of schedule caste (SC) and schedule tribe (ST) are given the benefit of engaging labourers for their private work. However,taluka development officer (TDO) of Jamkandorana,Gaurav Pandya said there was no foul play on their part.

“Rasik’s father Ruda had formally applied for the work of digging up the well on the disputed piece of land claiming he owned it. We have paid Rs 1.16 lakh wages to seven labourers under NREGA and their records are available with us,” said Pandya.

“When the dispute regarding the ownership of the land surfaced,it was found panchanama (field report of the site of the well in the presence of witnesses) was not right and the well was dug up on pastoral land belonging to village panchayat,” the TDO further said.

The four were presented in a local court later in the evening.

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