Abject poverty, unemployment, hunger, struggle for survival at remote and inaccessible villages in hilly regions have proved to be conducive for Naxal movement and anti-social activities. To vindicate this view, Naxal movement and attempts to brainwash youth and local people to emulate its ideals have been detected in Muruganmalai and in some parts of Kodaikanal and Varushanadu hills two or three years ago.

Having realised the importance of creating job opportunities for tribal youth and bringing them to the mainstream of society, anti-Naxal squad made them keep down their weapons and implemented welfare schemes with innovative ideas at the villages. It was another step by the squad to nip Naxal movement, if any, on the hill, in the bud. The implementation of schemes and welfare measures for tribal people living in hilly regions is to win their confidence and prevent them from moving towards anti-social ideologies.

The squad members visited Nochi Odai, Vellimalai, Arasaradi, Pulikuthi, Bommurajapuram, Kodikadu, Chinnur, Peraiyur, Agamalai, Sokkanalai, Pattur, Karumparai, Uthukadu, Ooradi, Sella Colony, Muruganmalai, Semman Kudi among other villages in the hills in Theni and districts bordering it and identified children willing to go to school and college and youth desired to go for jobs. Tribal girls and boys were admitted to schools to continue their studies. They were given accommodation in government hostels near their school to ensure safe stay and food.

Now, tribal parents have stopped worrying about the future of their children. The squad also footed educational expenses and cost of books and notebooks.

Meanwhile, innate skills and talents of tribal and rural youth in sensitive areas have were also identified. Later, the team members trained the youth, on the basis of their skills, for various competitive examinations and government jobs. Physically fit persons were trained for uniformed services. Besides physical fitness, they were tutored to write examinations also. Many wrote Village Administrative Officer examination and took part in police selection.

Benefits of such an approach has brought immense benefits. First, tribal youth gained confidence and desired to lead a life like others in the plains.

Second, they were prevented from engaging in anti-social activities. At last, anti-social activities will not find a place to take roots in villages.

Welfare schemes in hilly regions wean villagers away from anti-social activities, writes

K. Raju

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