Just one borewell for 75 houses

Reality: Barren land, elephants, lack of water sources...

About 50 tribals of the Sollepur-C resettlement colony were looking forward to the Union minister of state for tribal affairs Ranee Nerah’s visit.

After a long wait, as soon as the minister reached the area, they blocked her car and requested to take a look at the colony.

Seethamma, from the Jenu Kuruba tribe, was angry with the resettlement proceedings. She expressed her anger in the open on two separate occasions — again during the stage function. It took a few minutes to control the woman and make her take a seat.

“When we were living in the forests, there was a problem of elephants. Now, they have rehabilitated us here, but gave us barren land,” she said.

Irregularities

Taking the director of the Indian Institute of Tribal Education (IITE) Prabhu to task, she alleged that he has siphoned off the funds meant for the development of tribals. “Namma hesralli samsthe katti mosa maadavne (He cheated us after building an institution in our name),” she said.

Sollepur-C resettlement colony has 75 houses, with 60 of them occupied. Rest of the houses remain vacant. “When they gave us about three acres of land per family here, the land around was enough for only 60 families.

That is why 15 houses remain un-occupied,” said Prakash, a resident of the resettlement area. Prakash also noted that the colony has just one borewell to satisfy the water demands of its people.

One of the demands of the tribals in Sollepur-C resettlement colony and Basavana Hadi, another resettlement area about half a kilometer from Sollepur, is that they be given access to water from Taraka canal.

President of Large Scale Multi-purpose Co-operative Society Vijaya Kumar said despite provisions for tribals to collect forest produce, income has considerably reduced. “In our Society, we used to collect two to three tonnes of honey every year.

Now, honey is also sparse and people collecting honey are also less,” he said. Since a kilogram of honey would fetch the tribals Rs 150, honey gathering was a good income source for the tribals, he recalled.

With elephants and barren lands ensuring that these tribals lose sleep every night, progress and development remains an elusive dream.

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