The beneficiaries are a mix of Lambada, Yanadi and Yerukula communities

The faces of the tribal men and women lighted up as they received envelops with a cheque sealed in it. They were beneficiaries of the NABARD Tribal Development Fund project, being implemented by the Vijayawada-based NGO Vasavya Mahila Mandali (VMM) in four villages of A. Kondur mandal in Krishna district.

Mobilised from A. Konduru, Cheemalapadu, Krishnaraopalem and Kummarikuntla villages, the tribal men and women, identified as beneficiaries of ‘Maa Thota’ programme designed by the VMM, are a mix of Lambada, Yanadi and Yerukula communities.

Aimed at sustained development of the grassroot tribal communities in this region of Krishna district, the VMM is into the second year of the three-year-long project.

In the first phase, a ‘Maa Thota’ committee was constituted to identify 100 beneficiaries who own lands. For effective implementation of the project, village development committees were formed to ensure proper utilisation of the funds allocated for the purpose.

Under this project, tribal farmers cultivated a varied pattern of inter-crops such as pulses like green gram and black gram, groundnuts and vegetables like lady finger, brinjal, cucumber and tomato, in 100 acres.

The cultivation process was preceded by a series of awareness programmes attended by beneficiaries who were given tips by the district agricultural officers on how to cultivate intercrops at low cost and gain optimum utilisation of manure.

The tribal families which do not own land are given cash assistance to buy either sheep and goat or basket-making material. This would not only help them eke out a livelihood but help them attain self-sufficiency in the long run. Distributing cheques to beneficiaries at Krishnaraopalem on Wednesday, Thiruvuru MLA D. Padma Jyothi said it is misconception that Krishna district did not have girijan population. She said since the amount being given was not a loan, the beneficiaries must put it to the best use to improve their living style. Former MP and VMM president Chennupati Vidya said the mahila mandali also had plans to install a solar energy plant in the village to address the near-12-hour-power cut problem and launch free tailoring classes for women to help them supplement their spouse’s income. She also suggested that the Lambada women’s skill in making ‘jonna rotti’ (roti made of maize flour) be put to use by supplying their roties to the health-conscious city population.

In the second phase of ‘Maa Thota’ drive, the farmers have planted mango and guava saplings and the boundaries are bordered by teak plantation.

VMM secretary G. Rashmi and others were also present.

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