Tribal settlement abuzz after visit by Collector, officials

Collector K. V. Muralidharan interacts with the residents at Chellan Colony near Periyakulam in Theni district.  

Things are happening fast in Chellan Colony, a hamlet of tribal people near Periyakulam in Theni district. For instance, one of the residents, Eswari, has a bank account now. She has enrolled as a member of a self-help group (SHG). This middle-aged woman also has a family card to buy ration goods now.

Ms. Eswari told The Hindu that all these became a reality ever since Collector K. V. Muralidharan paid a visit to their hamlet on July 27. Soon a number of officials started coming to their village. “I lost count of the number of visits by officials to our village,” she says.

There are 19 tribal villages in Theni district spread across Bodinaickanur, Periyakulam, Andipatti and Uthamapalayam. The tribal people work in agricultural fields for six months of the year and sold honey, gooseberry and herbal plants during the rest of the year. They never had access to bank accounts or identity cards issued by the government. Most of their children were not exposed to formal education.

In such a scenario, government officials knocking at their door and offering all help had certainly given them hope and a new lease of life.

Ganga, wife of Kannan, said that though they lived only about five km away from Keezha Vadakarai, going all the way to Periyakulam was a far-fetched idea for most of them. The odd jobs at the coconut grove and honey collection fetched them some money to eke out a living.

Now, help has started coming from officials of the Tamil Nadu Rural Transformation Programme, and from the departments of Rural Development, Horticulture, Differently abled, Revenue and other agencies. “Not only do we have bank accounts now, we received training on honey collection, making agarbathi sticks, et al,” one of the villagers said.

After about 10 women were identified, a SHG was formed. The bank has given ₹10,000 each and with this the womenfolk have planned to make agarbathis (incense sticks). They have also planned to start other ventures.

The Collector urged the tribal settlement to get themselves vaccinated against COVID-19 and also offered to pay the initial premium for life and accident cover for about 25 of them who received voter identity cards.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 3:03:31 PM |

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