The Central Government has stepped in to save the grave situation in Attappady tribal belt and announced Rs.125 crore special package here on Thursday.
The Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh addressing a press conference along with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his four Cabinet Colleges has announced a five-point special package and set up a Special Task Force headed by S.M. Vijayanand, Additional Secretary of the Union Ministry of Rural Development to implement it within a period of 18 months.
Mr. Ramesh has said that “the first and foremost starting point of the tragedy in Attappady is the alienation of over 10,000 acres of tribal land. Unless we solve this crucial issue with a political will no amount of development project will succeed.”
He said that to make the tribal land cultivable an amount of Rs.50 crore will be sanctioned under the Mahila Kisan Shakthikaran Paristhan (MKSP) by encouraging the tribal women.
He said that the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme will also be used to the development of agriculture in Attappady.
“This project will be implemented within a period of three years and the Special Task Force for Attappady will monitor it. Two professional will be assigned for the task,” the Union Minister said.
He said that an amount of Rs.50 crore will be spent to strengthen Kudumbasree projects in Attappady to empower tribal women.
“They will also be helped to fight against the menace of wide spread brewing and use of liquor among the tribal people in Attappady”, Mr. Ramesh said.
He said that another Rs.15 crore will be sanctioned for constructing 2,000 houses for tribal people.
“The Centre will provide Rs.75,000 for each houses and the rest will have to be provided by the State government and the local bodies,” the Union Minister said.
He said 30 kms long rural road under the Prime Minister’s Grameen Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) will be constructed in Attappady to connect the tribal hamlets.
He said that a special health package for Attappady will be considered by the Central government. The State government should immediately submit a comprehensive health plan for Attappady.
A comprehensive water supply scheme for Attappady will also be considered by the Central government, Mr. Ramesh said.
He said that “a special programme will be launched to train 500 educated tribal youth and hunting them job outside Attappady. Out of 500 youths 250 will be girls.”
The Union Minister declared that “I will be the Ambassador for Attappady and co-ordinate with various Central government departments to help implement the special packages to solve the crisis in this tribal area where the people are undergoing serious problems.”
The Minister said that he has visited the Paloor and the Nallipathy tribal hamlets (where four infant each died of malnutrition recently) along with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his Cabinet colleagues on Thursday and came to understand the acute problems of malnutrition, unemployment, lack of health facilities etc.