Residents of remote tribal villages of Avanipara in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district struggle every day due to the lack of basic amenities.
Fifty km away from Konni, people of a village in Avanipara have to struggle daily as they lack proper roads, water to drink, and a sanitation system. The main issue the villagers have been facing is the Achankovil River, which they have cross every day to reach the main road.
The issue gets especially troubling during the monsoon season when the water levels rise. The nearest school is 10 kilometers away and people have to travel over 20 km to reach a hospital.
Praveena, a Class 10 student from the Ranni Tribe, said that she has to often skip school during the rainy season as she is unable to cross the river.
“If the river levels increase, I can’t go to school. We can only go if a bridge is built. If my grandmother gets sick, it is difficult to get her to the hospital because there is no bridge. In the summer, we collect drinking water from the river. We require a pipe connection for water,” she said.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I was unable to attend online class because the network coverage in this area is very poor,” she added.
Another tribal woman, Aanandavalli, says that she is unable to provide adequate treatment for her ailing husband due to inadequate funds for transportation.
“My husband is sick. He needs treatment from a hospital in Kottayam but we can’t go there because we don’t have the money. I have not been able to buy medicine for the last two months. If I give the transportation bill, I will not even get the money from the Tribal office,” she said.
Santhosh Mullumala, State President of the Tribal Development Society said the same situation prevails across tribal villages in Kerala.
“When we travelled through the tribal colonies across Kerala, we have seen only miseries. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) have ruled Kerala so far, but the tribals have not gotten anything. In order to cast their votes, people need to cover distances up to 70 km,” Mullaumala said.
“We don’t know why the government is not considering them. If this continues, we will protest in front of the Secretariat with the people,” he added.
A total of Rs 7,524.87 crore was allocated to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs for the year 2021-22, the highest ever. The funds for the welfare of the scheduled tribes have been increased by more than 50 percent when compared to the last budget.
The ministry this year has seen a 36.62 percent increase in allocation over the previous year’s revised estimate of Rs 5,508 crore. (ANI)