Brinda Karat has raised many vital questions on the poor health status of tribals in Kerala (“Gruel, rice and tamarind water,” July 2). Across the political spectrum, there is a lack of political will to help the poor. Despite Kerala alternating between the Left parties and the Congress, the backwardness of adivasis has remained a constant. People’s welfare is thrown to the winds once a party or coalition forms a government.
The article has exposed the State’s callousness in Attappady. Such deprivation can sow the seeds of alienation among the tribals with disastrous consequences. Direct cash transfers seem to be the only way to deal with rampant corruption and administrative delays. The government should expedite the process of inclusion.
The tribals have been dispossessed of their meagre livelihood resources in the name of development and rendered more impoverished and voiceless. Our leaders should ask themselves whether growth and development are meant for investors or the impoverished. The deaths of women and children in Attappady are murders resulting from callous, greedy, insensitive policies.
Indra Reddy Chavali
Malnutrition has been plaguing the tribals of Kerala for decades. Scant attention is paid to the Integrated Tribal Development Project although the State boasts of better development indicators on many fronts, including health. Despite the movement led by C.K. Janu for redistributing land to landless tribals, nothing much has been achieved to alleviate the poverty and suffering of the adivasis, irrespective of the governments in power. Ms Karat is right in saying that land is the primary source of livelihood for tribals. If it is restored to them and they are supported in growing crops and vegetables with watershed management, there will be a change in their living conditions.
P. Narayana Moorthy,
The main cause of malnutrition is poverty but the maladministration of the State is equally to blame. Central government schemes do not reach the target group. However this is not unique to Attappady or Kerala. Across the country, urgent steps should be taken to make administration more effective.
The plight of adivasis is similar in Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. Eradication of poverty, ignorance and corruption is a must if malnutrition and its harmful consequences are to be wiped out. We must focus more on removing the causes of malnutrition, the most significant being the ever-increasing population. The adivasis should be helped in such a way that they do not depend on government policies for everything. As Ms Karat rightly says, they want livelihood not charity.
Anjaneesh Pratap Singh,
India is among the countries that have a high rate of poverty. Ironically, it is also counted as a country with many millionaires. The numbers in both the categories are increasing with each passing decade. Our politicians and bureaucracy perhaps think this is another aspect of diversity. If they continue to do so, the future of India will be very different from what was envisaged by the founding fathers of this great nation.
Punya Jyoti Boruah,
On the one hand, foodgrains are rotting in FCI godowns and, on the other, people are dying of malnutrition. Instead of making pious statements on food security, the UPA government should ensure proper foodgrain distribution to BPL families, as directed by the Supreme Court.
Savula Naveen Chandra,
The plight of the people of Attappady is a grim reminder of the grave policy paralysis and bureaucratic quagmires in Kerala. The authorities should get rid of their lackadaisical attitude. Malnourishment has triggered a series of other problems and diseases in the region, rendering people weak and vulnerable. A strong integrated approach with emphasis on restoring the lands of the tribals should be adopted.
Arjun R. Shankar,