TB haunts impoverished tribal settlements

Muralidhara Khajane
ITDP a non-starter in starter in Hunsur taluk

Stricken:Members of the tribal community in Bettada haadi, Hunsur taluk, also grapple with malnourishment and anaemia.
MYSORE: Despite numerous special schemes and financial allocations, tribal communities in Hunsur taluk lead a life of poverty, marked by severe malnutrition.
In Bettada haadi in the taluk, tribal residents grapple with appalling health conditions. Eight people in 28 families have tuberculosis, five have died in the past six years, and many others are malnourished and anaemic. They live in dilapidated houses that lack sanitation. Defunct borewells, broken pipes and non-functional streetlights are common sights.
Despite substantial allocations by the Centre under the Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP), nothing has changed here.
Community head Sannaiah (60) said, “In our haadi, the anganwadi doors have not opened for a while, 20 families are landless, and 10 do not have below the poverty line (BPL) cards. Only a few of us have received job cards under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and even the few do not have jobs.”
Hunsur Taluk Panchayat executive officer Basavaraj admitted that there are eight tuberculosis cases in the settlement, of which the condition of three women is precarious. “They will be shifted to the district hospital” he told The Hindu, blaming the “apathy of the authorities in implementing the ITDP effectively”.
Development Through Education director Srikant said, “Over 40 per cent of Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) are haunted by malnutrition and tuberculosis in every settlement. Attendance in ashram schools dips by the day as healthy tribal children fear contracting tuberculosis.”
‘Cornering benefits'
He also alleged that a community that calls itself Naikas had cornered the ITDP benefits, while impoverishing the others.
The situation is no different in 218 forest-based haadis in Mysore district, where the Union Government has identified over 22,000 people as belonging to PTGs, according to Mr. Srikanth. He attributes the current state of the ITDP to the closure of the Special Offices that had been constituted to oversee the implementation of the programme.
He expressed concern that the applications submitted by the PTGs to the district committee under the Scheduled Tribes and other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forests Rights) Act had not been disposed of so far. Through a letter to Deputy Commissioner P. Manivannan, who is also the chairman of the district committee, Mr. Srikanth urged him to dispose of the applications and distribute title deeds to PTGs.
Mr. Srikanth stressed the need to confiscate tobacco and ginger crop grown on the land leased by tribal people to local farmers and support the tribal people in cultivating their land. He also urged that ITDP Special Offices under be opened to facilitate the implementation of schemes under the programme.