Coimbatore

Motorable roads, power elude tribal residents of Malliamman Durgham

A reed-thatched house at Malliamman Durgham tribal settlement in Kadambur Hills in Erode.

A reed-thatched house at Malliamman Durgham tribal settlement in Kadambur Hills in Erode.   | Photo Credit: M.GOVARTHAN

The settlement that has less than 70 families at present, lacks household toilets

Road connectivity and electricity connection remain a distant dream for the tribal residents of Malliamman Durgham in Kadambur Hills, Erode.

Nestled in the dense forests of Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, the hamlet does not have motorable roads. While a journey in a pick-up van from Kadambur to the hamlet would take an hour, it would take five hours on foot.

As per 2011 revenue records, the settlement had 159 families comprising 636 persons. It has now dropped to less than 70 families. “Our people are living here for over 250 years and were issued patta to carry out farm activities by the Britishers”, said 75-year-old Elayappan. The residents were given automatic solar lighting systems last year. “But the power from the system could only light a single bulb,” Elayappan said.

Except for five brick houses, the other houses have clay walls and reed-thatched roofs. Each house could accommodate only three persons and there are no toilets.

Perumal Ammal (60), another resident, said that half the population had moved to Kadambur, Kalkadambur and to plains in search of work and to educate children. “Once 94 students studied in the Panchayat Union Middle School in the hamlet, but now there only 18 students”, she said.

All electronic items, including freebies given by the government, are dumped in the houses. They get to know of the outside world through radios. “Our life did not change in all these years”, said Puchiyappan (50). Their only source of income comes from the sale of guava and jack fruits.

People hope that motorable roads, electricity connection, better healthcare system and basic amenities would arrest migration of people from the hamlet.

As per the Fort St. George Gazette dated August 11, 1896, the right of way for the hamlet is from the Second Mile that is located about six km on the ghat road from the plains.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 3:18:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/motorable-roads-power-elude-tribal-residents-of-malliamman-durgham/article29395079.ece

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