The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and Dindigul police have undertaken a joint initiative to create employment opportunities for tribals, especially women, in the Kodaikanal region.

The initiative is aimed at ensuring that the tribals do not support anti-social elements or Naxalites due to lack of sustainable livelihood. The KVIC is also expanding this initiative in southern districts such as Theni and Kanyakumari, K. Krishnaswamy, Director, KVIC Madurai Division, told The Hindu here on Thursday. This region comprises 10 southern districts.

A total of 60 tribals have been chosen from Thandikudi and Vilpatti on the Kodaikanal hills besides the Kodaikanal municipal area to receive specialised training in bee keeping and honey extraction without destroying the combs by using sophisticated equipment, along with collection of bee wax and royal jelly.

Extracting these two by-products could be very profitable for the tribals as bee wax possessed medicinal properties while royal jelly was an important component in manufacturing cosmetic products. The effort was also directed at converting Kodaikanal into a honey hub.

Dindigul Superintendent of Police R. Dinakaran and Kodaikanal Deputy Superintendent of Police Baskaran had been coordinating with the KVIC in this effort as the beneficiaries were chosen by the police department.

The training would be given in three batches of 20 each between November and December. The cost of training each batch is Rs. 15,500 which will be borne by the KVIC.

Further, training would also be imparted in using ‘bee-bite' for treating arthritis. “As tribals constantly climb the steep hills, many of them suffer from knee problem. This training will provide immense relief to them.”

The KVIC would also provide market linkage to the tribals with Sarvodhaya Sanghs in Madurai and Dindigul districts. They would purchase the honey produce from the tribals. Apart from the 60 tribals at Kodaikanal region, another 60 had been chosen in Kanyakumari district and 20 more at Annadhanapatti in Theni district to receive training simultaneously.

Once the tribals completed the 15-day training, they would be provided credit support under the Prime Minister's Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) to establish infrastructure and form self-help groups. They would be given training at the honey extraction plant here, he said.

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