Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that the problems of the tribal people of Attappady can be solved only if the new generation of the tribes are brought to the mainstream.

Referring to the controversy over the remark of the Chief Minister in an interview to a news magazine that the tribes of Attappady did not eat properly, the Chief Minister said that this was just one of the problems he had listed. His exact words were that “another problem is that these people do not eat properly.” They were not taking delivery of ration articles sent for distribution. They were also not interested in cooking, he said.

Mr. Chandy said he had visited Attappady three times and his comment was based on the information he had collected. Former Vice-Chancellor of Kerala University B. Ekbal had said that he should apologise for the remarks. However, the five-member committee of doctors headed by Dr. Ekbal, who visited Attappady in May, had said in its report that though there was an informal ban on liquor in the Attappady valley, liquor from Tamil Nadu and illicit liquor brewed locally were freely available. The committee had found that not only men but also women, including pregnant women, consumed liquor.

He said that comprehensive changes in the lifestyle needed to be brought about to solve the problems faced by the tribal people. So, the government was taking steps to educate tribal children so that they could be brought to the mainstream. The government was ready to set up any number of residential facilities for this. Funds would be provided outside the budget for setting up hostels. The Centre had already initiated a number of steps to monitor the situation in the valley and take remedial measures. A review meeting would be held next week, he said.

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