Tamil Nadu: 70-year-old sole inhabitant of Tuticorin’s ghost village | Madurai News – Times of India

TUTICORIN: A vast emptiness pervades Meenakshipuram in Tuticorin district, typical of the few barren villages from where people have migrated en mass due to loss of livelihood and difficult living conditions. Yet, diehard sons of the soil like Kandasamy Naicker refuse to leave come what may. Today, the 70-year-old is the sole inhabitant of this village in Sekkarkudi panchayat, 35 kms away from Tuticorin, which faces the threat of being wiped out from the map.
Time was when Meenakshipuram used to teem with agricultural activities. According to the 2001 census, there were 1,269 people living there, but many started leaving when the rains failed the region consistently. People had to travel five kilometres to collect water while lack of public transport made them walk miles to take a bus. Kandasamy says there were five families in the village till 2015 when they too left.
The septuagenarian has been living alone in his dilapidated house ever since his wife passed away five years ago. His two sons and daughter want him to come and live with them, but Kandasamy is adamant that he will die on his own soil. A rope cot, a mixie, a big drum of water, a television and aruval are his only belongings. A rekla cart, which he used for racing in Sekkarkudi, the village famous for bullock cart races, rests in his backyard. A cat and a dog keep him company. “My father and grandfather were born here and I too will die like them,” says he.
Loud winds howl through the village, which Kandasamy attributes to the absence of green cover and trees. There is an overhead tank and a street tap with a hand pump in the village but water comes only once in ten days. Kandasamy feels the village would have lived had the government given them proper water facilities. The road has not been laid for decades and is full of potholes. Neighbouring villages are three to four kilometres away where agricultural activities still go on. Kandasamy has a two-wheeler to fetch groceries from neighbouring Sekkarkudi with the Rs 2,000 his son Bala gives him every month. He buys his ration from Sekkarkudi and is a regular voter having voted in the recent assembly election by travelling to Chokkalingapuram, 3 kms away.
The village comes alive during the Adhiparasakthi temple fesival in May when people come and put up tents, but they return the next day. There is a gleam in Kandasamy’s eyes hinting at an optimism that this village would come to life again and people would return.


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