Kerala

Tribes here lead a forlorn life

Tribal children of Suprikat hamlet whiling away their time on a rock in front of their house. For them online classes still remain a dream.  

Three Adivasi families belonging to Kattunaikar and Muthuvan tribes are leading a forlorn life on top of Kakkadampoyil hills with no vehicular access and almost total neglect.

Their children do not know what online education is. They have been living there for decades in total neglect.

The dozen-odd members of the Suprikat tribal colony in Thottappally forest region in Chaliyar panchayat are living in tarpaulin sheds.

They said they rarely get food kits from the government. Two of the three families do not have a ration card. They have no land of their own either. “We have been living here for many years,” said tribal leader Mathan.

With no proper road, one will have to trek seven km to reach this tiny hamlet. They have no power connection. Although the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) installed power lines up to the hamlet, no connection was given to them so far. The power line broken in the 2018 floods remained unrepaired until last week.

“That’s a classic example of the attitude of the authorities towards these tribespeople,” said Ajmal Koloth, a social worker involved in helping the tribal community.

Although Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP)’s tribal promoter in charge of this hamlet Sheela Vinu said that she used to visit them and take care of them regularly, they denied her claim.

“We don’t get to see any of them. Nobody comes to us,” said Krishnan Kutty.

Their children, Baburaj (Class V), Vishnu (Class III), Sujeesh (Class III), Akhil Krishnan (Class II) and Aswati (Kindergarten) were not aware if the school had reopened after vacation when The Hindu spoke to them on Sunday. None has bothered to provide them any online study facility.

Even if the school reopens, the children will not be able to reach school by crossing two streams on the way to Government Tribal LP School, Valanthode.

Greeshma Praveen, their ward member, said efforts were on to bring electricity to the hamlet. According to her, the ITDP had offered funds to set up a study centre for the tribal families, and that was why none else took any initiative. She said they had been offered a better place to live with proper access and better facilities. “But they are not willing to accept the offer,” she said.

“We do not want to leave this land, where we have been living for decades,” said Mathan.

Neglected by the authorities, the tribal families are allegedly exploited by some traders whom they depend for their groceries. They said that the traders were overcharging them for their groceries.

“For example, when you get sugar for ₹40 a kg, we are often charged ₹50. The reason they say is that we are special,” they said. However, the shopkeepers denied this allegation.

They do not know the name of their MLA. But they said they voted in the recent elections.


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Printable version | Aug 6, 2021 1:37:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/tribal-families-lead-a-forlorn-life-on-top-of-kakkadampoyil/article34890449.ece

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