Coimbatore

With Forest Department help, tribal families get new kitchens

The newly-constructed kitchens attached to a row of houses in Nedugalcombai village near Coonoor.

The newly-constructed kitchens attached to a row of houses in Nedugalcombai village near Coonoor.  

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They ask for LPG connections to avoid venturing into forests to collect firewood

With the help of the Forest Department, more than 30 tribal families in Nedugalcombai near Coonoor now have kitchens where they could have LPG connections in the future.

The initiative, aimed at minimising the need for the Irula families in the region to collect firewood from the surrounding forests and thereby reduce the number of human-animal interactions, has been welcomed by the families residing in the village.

M. Raman, the village headman in Nedugalcombai, told The Hindu that the Forest Department had asked the villagers what they required the most. “We told them that we want LPG connections, as we do not want to depend on gathering firewood from the forests,” said Mr. Raman, adding that the community could not get gas connections to their houses as they were too small.

“As our houses, built in 2006 are only single-room structures, we did not have the space to have LPG cylinders inside, and when we explained this to the District Forest Officer, he offered to fund the building of the kitchens for us,” said Mr. Raman.

The residents hoped that once the kitchens became fully operational in the 30 houses, the district administration would also help them get LPG connections.

“This way, there will be less reasons for us to venture into the surrounding forests in search of firewood, which, depending on the season, can be very hard to gather,” said R Mari, another resident.

The residents also called on the district administration to help rebuild some of the houses that had been damaged in the recent rains. Some of the houses had developed huge fissures. This could make the buildings structurally unsound, they said.

“There are also more than 20 families whose houses have not been repaired for many decades. They were promised new houses but nothing has come of it,” said Mr. Raman.

District Forest Officer, Nilgiris Division, D. Guruswamy said efforts to help the community in Nedugalcombai was part of a larger strategy of the Forest Department to build better relationship with the local communities. “Such good ties will help in better forest management, and even prevent poaching and other wildlife crimes. We will have a good rapport with the locals, who can inform us of such activities if they notice these,” he said.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 9:05:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/with-forest-department-help-tribal-families-get-new-kitchens/article30170481.ece

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