The shocking conditions prevailing in the tribal settlement in Ambumala near Kakkadampoyil bordering Kozhikode and Malappuram districts came to light during a recent camp held there by NSS (National Service Scheme) volunteers from Malabar Christian College.
Ambumala colony is home to nearly 27 Pania families — 27 among its residents being women and 12 children below the age of five.
One resident was suffering from sickle cell anaemia.
Three others were sickle cell anaemia carriers. Four others had physical deformities. There was one death in June due to TB.
Up to Class IV
The lone school available to them offered education up to Class IV.
The lone teacher of the school reached the institutions by foot through forest road to teach its 12 students. Only one child had ventured for higher studies.
He was in Class X in a school situated some distance away.
What was most disturbing was the fact that the men in the colony were almost addicted to liquor so much so they could be easily influenced by offering liquor.
A housing scheme that was launched as ordered by a High Court Judge during his visit to the colony in 2010 was in an unfinished state.
He had ordered construction of 22 houses. These were in various stages of ruin.
Also striking was the need to have a motorable road in Ambumala colony though a 750-metres road could be easily laid from the main road by acquiring some private land.
In the absence of such a road, quick and urgent medical facilities remained out of the reach for the residents. Power connection also had not reached the colony.
Doctors who led the medical camp held as part of the NSS programme reported that all 30 patients of the tribal colony they examined were suffering from anaemia.
Many children suffered from respiratory ailments. The doctors also confirmed cases of sickle cell anaemia. Lack of cleanliness was a major problem, and most of the men and some among the women were addicted to liquor, the doctors said in their report. Most children were anaemic and malnourished.
“It was a different experience for the volunteers. The volunteers had to walk nearly two-km in incessant rain through leech-infested forest to reach the tribal settlement.
They had taken with them medicines, food and clothes for the tribal people. Provisions worth Rs.150 each were also distributed among the tribal people,” Varghese Mathew of Malabar Christian College, who accompanied the NSS volunteers, said.
NSS programme officers Sachin P. James, Sheeba P.S., and M.P. Shyama led the camp. Prof. Varghese said a representation would be submitted to the Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in Kozhikode, listing the urgent need to improve facilities at Ambumala colony and establish de-addiction centres there.