‘Gothrasarathy’ was launched last year to transport tribal students in remote areas to and from school.
The Gothrasarathy project, introduced through the Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) office for tribal children in remote areas, is in limbo in Idukki district.
Under the project, tribal students from remote areas were transported to and from school. Schools used to arrange taxis or other vehicles to ferry students. The project was introduced throughout the State on July 2 last year. Idukki benefited a lot as the district has the most number of tribal communities in remote areas. Many such areas have only single-teacher schools.
But, the project seems to be headed for uncertain times. S. Sudarsanan, ITDP Officer, told The Hindu on Thursday that so far he had not received an order on implementing the project this year.
Last year, Rs.47.5 lakh was sanctioned for the project for 32 schools in Idukki district. Some schools discontinued the project by December itself due to lack of funds. The government still owed the schools Rs.7.5 lakh, he said. In many schools, teachers had to pool money to clear fare arrears of taxis that transported students.
Fifty-seven schools applied for the project in Idukki this year and Rs.1.5 crore was required for its implementation, he said.
“If the project is not executed properly, children will drop out and discontinue studies,” he said.
In the remote tribal settlements of Memarikudy and Poomala, tribal students walk nearly 10 km a day to school. The project had benefited them immensely.
There were allegations that some schools had arranged taxis even for a single student and that schools which did not come under the relevant category had taken advantage of the project.