Madurai

Tribal people get surprise Pongal gift from Deputy CM

Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam inspecting the proposed route for laying road from a village on the hills above Sothuparai dam in Theni district.  

For the tribal people of Chokanalai, a remote hamlet on the hills of Theni district - standing by the side of Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, Collector M. Pallavi Baldev and other senior officials on Pongal eve was itself a memorable day.

At the special camp conducted on Wednesday, they received assistance from the departments of Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare, Agriculture, Rural Development, and were promised civic infrastructure valued at ₹4.01 crore. Mr. Panneerselvam presided over the ‘bhoomi puja’ for construction of a health sub centre, a long pending demand of the people. An Amma Mini Clinic was also opened on the occasion.

The tribal people had been demanding roads connecting their villages to the main road so that they could transport the produce to the towns, take their pregnant women to hospitals and children to schools easily. The district administration, through the District Rural Development Agency, has prepared a project for laying the roads.

Speaking to The Hindu, Ms. Baldev said instead of the residents going all the way to the Collectorate and other offices in different parts of the district, officials from various departments visited the tribal areas at periodic intervals. So far, three camps had been conducted at Melaparavu and Kannakarai (Bodi taluk) and Velapparkoil (Andipatti taluk).

After examining their requirements, which ranged from assistance for self-help groups, additional buildings for primary and middle schools, anganwadi centres, drinking water - source and distribution, street lights, kisan cards, the officials took decisions on the spot.

Organising such camps helped the officials to get clarification/approval from the Forest Department to give the residents rights to collect minor forest produce (MFP) such as gooseberry and honey and take them to the market.

Similarly, 32 people, whose houses built on ‘natham poramboke,’ required repairs or reconstruction inside the forest areas of Chokanalai, Pattur, Karumbarai and Kuruvankuzhi under the Forest Rights Act, the Collector said and added that the objective of such camps was to ensure all the eligible people had a house to live, a basic need. There were close to 2,000 tribal people spread over 19 villages in the district.

In Ooradi and Oothukaadu hamlets near Sothuparai and at Kuravankuzhi in Agamalai panchayat in Bodi municipal limits, civic infrastructure such as street lights, drinking water tanks, construction of a high-rise culvert were given adminstrative sanction.

Since 300 SHG members needed deposit money of ₹1,000 each for opening bank accounts and receiving loans, Mr. Panneerselvam volunteered to contribute the money for all.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2021 3:57:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/tribal-people-get-surprise-pongal-gift-from-deputy-cm/article33581841.ece

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