Helping hands for tribals to move up the ladder

August 08, 2015 12:00 am | Updated March 29, 2016 01:54 pm IST

District Collector S. Harikishore interacting with Malampandaram families at Moozhiyar during his ‘Ooril Oru Divasom’ programme held recently.

District Collector S. Harikishore interacting with Malampandaram families at Moozhiyar during his ‘Ooril Oru Divasom’ programme held recently.

he district administration is making efforts to study and solve the problems that forest-dwellers in the hilly forest tracts of Pathanamthitta face.

A step towards this has been District Collector S. Harikishore’s visits to the nomadic tribal families since the past 45 days as part of a novel initiative ‘A day in a tribal hamlet’ (‘Oorikl oru divasom’).

The Kudumbasree Mission has identified 45 tribal hamlets in the district. The Collector, accompanied by the Tribal Development Officer, Krishna Prakash, and the Kudumbasree Mission district coordinator, Sabir Hussein, has launched his ‘Mission Tribal Welfare’ with a new enthusiasm.

Mr Harikishore has already visited the tribal hamlets of Avanippara in Konni, Moozhiar in Ranni, and Chalakkayam-Nilackal areas in the Sabarimala forests. He was now planning to visit 10 tribal hamlets and his next visit will be to the forests areas of Manneera.

“Youth among the nomadic tribal families in the district are keen to settle outside the forests and the administration will take every possible step to rehabilitate them,’’ says Mr. Harikishore.

According to him, malnutrition is a major problem facing these tribal folk. The Health Department has conducted medical camps at all these tribal hamlets and a majority of the children and womenfolk were found anaemic and malnourished. Excessive use of common salt has shot up the blood pressure even in the children there, he said.

The womenfolk, especially teenagers and young housewives, among the nomadic tribal people were ready to move to a settlement colony on the forest fringes, if they were provided with basic infrastructure facility like a proper shelter, water, food and clothing, he said.

The nomadic families at Chalakkayam in the Sabarimala forests have demanded plastic sheets to cover the roof of their make-shift huts, bed sheets, food grains, and provisions. The Collector has directed the Taluk Supply Officer (TSO) to issue ration cards to all the tribal families. The TSO has already issued ration cards to 11 families and the remaining families will be supplied with the card in the next few days.

Each card-holder is entitled to get 35-kg rice through ration shops. The Thiruvabharanam Path Protection Council leader, Prasad Kuzhikkala, said the council had been collecting the ration from an outlet at Attathode and taking it to these forest-dwellers.

The administration will also make necessary arrangements for the skill development of these tribal people and to bring them to the social mainstream in a phased manner. Prompt follow-up is what needed to achieve this goal, says the Collector.

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