The tribal people of the border areas of Alluri Sitarama Raju and Anakapalli districts staged a half-naked protest, wearing caps made of adda leaves, demanding a road, anganwadi centre and school, on the eve of World Adivasi Day(International Day of Indigenous People) on Monday.
They staged a dharna at Pithrugedda village. They condemned the proposed amendment to the Forest Rights Act by the Centre and alleged that it was an attempt to hand over the forests to corporate companies. They raised slogans that they would protect the forests, which were their source of livelihood, and appealed to the government not to view them as a source of revenue.
The tribal people took out a rally from Peda Garuvu of and Pithrugedda of Rolugunta mandal of Arla Panchayat to Jajulabandha village of Moolapeta panchayat, a distance of about 4 km, and staged the protest.
About 400 people of Peda Garuvu and Pithrugedda of Koyyuru mandal were living on the hilltop. The tribal people alleged that as there was no road and safe drinking water facility to their village, people were falling sick often and the sick and pregnant women had to be carried in ‘dolis’ to the road point at Arla.
They said that there were 70 children in the 0 to 11 years age group and 15 children in the 12 to 14 years age group but their village has no anganwadi centre or a government school. The children have to walk for 4 km to reach the nearest school, and the villagers 20 km away to collect their rations from the GCC Depot, paying additional transportation charges.
AP Girijana Sangham Fifth Schedule Sadhana Committee leader K. Govinda Rao, Jajulabandha village elder Marri Venkata Rao, Korra Subba Rao of Pithrugedda and Kollo Narasayya of Peda Garuvu expressed solidarity with the agitating tribals. They alleged that several representations were given to the ITDA Project Officer in the past but no action has been taken so far.