After 27 Years of Hard Labour as Migrant, Woman is Now Panchayat President in Karnataka’s Udupi District

After a drought hit them hard 27 years ago and they could not yield anything from two acres of land, Bheemavva and her husband Mariyappa migrated in search of work from Katageri in Karnataka’s Bagalkote district to Talluru in Udupi district. After having done odd jobs, even as daily wage workers, to support their family back home, they can finally reap the benefit of all their hard work. Bheemavva is now the panchayat president of Talluru.

“I have struggled very hard to get my voter’s ID, Aadhaar card and other documents. I know how hard it is to get your work done at a government office. Now that I have power to change things, which came as a surprise to me too, I am trying my best to ensure people get their work done easily and all facilities are distributed rightfully,” Bheemavva says.

She is still a labourer in the second half of the day and visits the panchayat office in the morning. “No one in the village waits for the president to approve their request now. Works at the gram panchayat level is quick. Moreover, she is still the old Bheemavva we all know, this president position hasn’t changed her one bit,” said Shyamala, a village resident. ​

The migrant couple have four children. Bheemavva’s eldest son is a soldier deputed at the Indo-China border. After having worked in different villages in Udupi district, the couple settled in Talluru and settled for the time being a few years ago.

Bheemavva soon became a sought-after worker because of her honesty and hard work. She was working at the farm of a village resident in Talluru when in December 2020, when a reservation for the post of village panchayat president in the scheduled tribe category. It was the farm owner, Karan, who suggested Bheemavva’s name and convinced her to contest. While she agreed after a lot of thought, she won by 162 votes.

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