Special Correspondent

Several tribal hamlets do not have basic facilities

Thanda Development Corporation set up to address issue

BANGALORE: The State Government has set aside Rs. 50 crore for providing basic amenities to the estimated 3,000 Banjara tribal hamlets spread across different parts of the State, said Social Welfare Minister D. Sudhakar.

Inaugurating a daylong seminar on development of the Banjara community organised by the Karnataka Thanda Development Corporation Ltd. here on Tuesday, Mr. Sudhakar said the Banjara community is found to be concentrated in Gulbarga, Bijapur, Davangere and Shimoga districts of the State and the Government has already taken up welfare measures.

The Government’s decision to earmark separate funds for providing basic amenities to Banjara hamlets assumes significance as a majority of the thandas suffer from lack of drinking water supply, roads and electricity.

In addition to the Rs. 50 crore, the Government has also earmarked Rs. 20 crore for constructing Sevalal community halls and Rs. 10 crore for establishing community halls at the district level. “The Government has already released Rs. 30 crore for taking up work under various welfare schemes for the Banjara community,” he said.

The Minister said the Banjara community’s literacy level was 42.98 per cent, which was far lower than the State’s average. About 30 per cent of the community are engaged in agriculture as small and marginal farmers while the rest are dependent on various occupations for a livelihood, besides leading a nomadic life.

The Government has set up the Karnataka Thanda Development Corporation to bring about educational, social and economic development of the Banjara community, he said. The corporation will carry out studies on the community’s language, arts and culture and strive to bring about overall development, he said.

Corporation

Speaking on the occasion, Principal Secretary to the Department of Social Welfare E. Venkataiah said the Government had transferred a few posts from Dr. Ambedkar SC and ST Development Corporation to the Thanda Development Corporation. Wherever the population of Banjaras is high, the Government plans to open district offices of the Thanda Development Corporation.

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