Over 300 families continue to live in ramshackle huts in Devarapura Paisari Colony
Life has not changed since Independence for more than 300 Adivasi families living in the Devarapura Paisari Colony in Virajpet taluk of Kodagu district.
Most of them belong to the Panjari Yerava tribe and a few to the Jenu Kuruba tribe. They continue to live in ramshackle huts in the forest area, deprived of basic amenities.
The Total Sanitation Campaign, under which household toilets are constructed, does not seem to have been implemented in the colony. None of the families has toilets at their dwellings, said B.N. Manu Shenoy, a resident of Virajpet, who visited the colony along with the former Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council and veteran advocate A.K. Subbaiah recently.
Mr. Subbaiah, who said it was a clear case of human rights violation, has offered help to the Adivasis to move court to demand a respectful living.
Access to drinking water is a tough ask for the residents. They have an open well and a borewell to meet their needs. A water tank built a couple of years ago has not been made operational so far. Some houses that were built under the Indira Awaas Yojana are not habitable now as they have developed cracks. The residents seldom venture out after its get dark as elephants roam around the area.
There no clarity as to whether the Devarapura colony area belongs to the Department of Forests or the Revenue Department. Mr. Subbaiah said even if both the arguments were to be believed, the revenue authorities could have regularised the land in favour of the tribal people or the Department of Forests could have conceded their rights under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act of 2006. Legal recourse was the only way out, he said.
Most of the residents work as daily wage labourers.
Jaya, who has been living in the colony for the last 60 years, is worried as her hut is in a bad shape and she needs resources to repair it before the monsoon.
Most of them colony residents do not have ration cards and there are no roads in the colony, Mr. Shenoy said.
Mr. Subbaiah said vested interests had a hand in denying basic amenities to the Devarapura colony residents.
None of the families has toilets The colony has only one open well and a borewell
None of the families has toilets
The colony has only one open well and a borewell