Kerala

Every meal is a struggle in Attappady

The facility to provide one full-meal a day to children below six years remains non-functional in most of the 172 targeted localities. File photo

The facility to provide one full-meal a day to children below six years remains non-functional in most of the 172 targeted localities. File photo  

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The government’s claim that the community kitchens for impoverished tribesmen in Attappady have been playing a vital role in fighting starvation and malnutrition has remained on paper.



The facility to provide one full-meal a day to children below six years, adolescents, pregnant women, and those above 60 years remains non-functional in most of the 172 targeted localities. The delay in releasing funds and lack of coordination between Kudumbasree units and Anganwadi workers in preparing food have contributed to the situation.



A success



Last week, Minister for Social Welfare M.K. Muneer claimed that the facility was a success in ensuring nutritional security to the tribal inhabitants of three grama panchayats in Attappady.



“The situation is the same in most of the tribal hamlets despite the tall claims of the government. The kitchens were earlier maintained by anganwadi workers who were forced to buy rice, pulses, cereals, and vegetables on credit from the open market. The government reimbursed the bills after huge delay. When tribal organisations took up the matter with the government, Kudumbasree was entrusted with the task of operating the kitchens in cooperation with the anganwadi workers. Now, the funds release is getting delayed as in previous years and there is a visible lack of coordination between the Anganwadi workers and Kudumbasree workers,” says tribal activist K.A. Ramu.



As per government sources, the government was spending Rs.98 crore a year for the last three years to maintain community kitchens.



When the scheme was launched, Dr. Muneer had said the government would fund the scheme for the first six months and civic-minded citizens would take over the scheme after that. However, the government is still funding the scheme. As per records, the scheme extends nutritional security to over 10,000 tribespeople.



Criticised



“In a way, the scheme has made Attappady tribals beggars. The government has to bring back their alienated agricultural land apart from ensuring proper irrigation.



This scheme has been launched after stopping supply of raw food packets containing ragi, green gram, and rice.



Now this also is not being implemented seriously there,” says R.J. Rajendraprasad, who works with the tribal organisation Thambu.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 7:46:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/every-meal-is-a-struggle-here/article7436654.ece

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