After living in inhuman conditions for more than five years, tribal families at Kandampara, on the banks of Kuttampuzha river near Manikandanchal, are running out of patience. There are nearly 300 people there from 58 families, belonging mostly to the Mannan and Muthuvan communities of Adivasis from Varriem and Uriampetty colonies.
The families came down to the present colony more than five years ago to escape wild animal attacks, to send their children to better schools and to take care of the sick.
However, they now live on government rations without proper sanitation facilities, drinking water and electricity on government forest land. With the government failing to keep its promise of rehabilitating them, they are now planning to launch an agitation.
“We are as patient as the earth,” Thankappan, kanikkaaran or leader of the ooru (settlement), which now looks like a colony of refugees. They live in bamboo-thatched huts, nourished by the free ration of rice. They have little work or other means of income.
The government rehabilitation programme had repeatedly stumbled on objections from the forest department, said Mr. Thankappan.
Kuttan, his friend, said the government had surveyed more than a thousand acres of land at Chullippoovan for rehabilitating the tribal families. However, the Forest Department said the land identified for their rehabilitation was dense forest area and the attempt was thwarted.
Later, the tribal welfare department identified a similar extent of land in the Urulanthanni teak plantations where the adivasis were promised 2.5 acres per family. Even this attempt did not take off with the forest department demanding Rs.21 crore for the land from the tribal welfare department.
Kuttan said the adivasis had left their nearly 1,000 acres in the Warriam and Uriampetty colonies and were seeking similar extent of land in the new settlement. The people were now impatient with the government’s game of making them wait, he said.