Forest Minister K. Ramachandran heard the grievances of the Nilgiris’ indigenous communities during an event organised to celebrate the ‘International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples’ in Udhagamandalam on Monday.
Each year, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is celebrated on August 9 to raise awareness of the world’s indigenous communities.
Speaking at an event organised to commemorate the day in Udhagamandalam, Mr. Ramachandran assured the Nilgiris’ indigenous communities, whose members took part in the event, that the government would work to ensure that their grievances were heard and resolved expeditiously. He said that in the previous financial year, ₹16 crore had been sanctioned by the government for development schemes for tribal communities, and stated that the government decided to invest over ₹50 crore this year.
“Basic amenities like drinking water, roads, transportation, electricity, and housing and facilities for children to get to school are all being ensured for the tribal communities. Steps are being taken to ensure that the villages that do not have such infrastructure will have access to them soon,” said the Minister. He said District Forest Officers and block development officers had been directed to visit at least one tribal settlement each week and find out whether there were any demands from people.
Mr. Ramachandran distributed ₹3 lakh in appreciation for the work done by self-help groups and appreciation certificates to 33 members of tribal communities. He handed over prosthetic limbs to nine persons on behalf of the department of differently abled persons’ welfare. Members of the Toda, Kota, Kattunayakan, Alu Kurumba, Betta Kurumba and Mullu Kurumba communities participated in the event.
District Collector S.P. Amrith, Conservator of Forests, Nilgiris, D. Venkatesh, District Forest Officer (Nilgiris and Gudalur divisions), Sachin Bhosale Thukkaram and Kommu Omkaram, Special Area Development Programme (SADP) Project Director, Monika Rana, and other officials from the forest and revenue departments participated.