Manju Warrier backtracks from tribal colony development

Manju Warrier

Popular Malayalam actor Manju Warrier has backtracked from her assurance to uplift a tribal colony at Wayanad in Kerala, citing paucity of funds.

Tribal welfare activists have sought action against Manju, alleging that the colony was ignored by the government following the actor's assurances and now the 57 odd families in the colony were in dire straits.

The Manju Warrier Foundation, formed by the actor in 2017, had assured it would undertake comprehensive development of Parakuni colony at Panamaram in Wayanad. Construction and maintenance of houses and toilets, setting up of recreation centre with library, vocational training, coaching and counselling for students and preservation of tribal culture were the major components of the proposal mooted by the foundation.

However, the foundation now says that so far, it has spent Rs 3.5 lakh for maintenance of some buildings and could only spend Rs 10 lakh more, owing to the inability of the actor to carry out the entire project single-handedly.

The colony, comprising of 52 scheduled tribe families and five families of general category, had suffered massive losses in the 2018 and 2019 Kerala floods.

Adivasi Gothra Mahasabha state coordinator M Geethanandan told DH that they had demanded the government take legal actions against the actor for not fulfilling the written assurance given to undertake comprehensive development of the colony. A probe should be also initiated to find the funds received by the foundation, he demanded.

M A Chacko, a member of the Panamaram Grama Panchayat, approached the District Legal Services Authority of Wayanad, seeking action against Manju Foundation for cheating. He said that since the foundation offered to fund the colony's development, which was approved by the panchayat, the members of the colony were not receiving benefits of various government welfare schemes.

However, since the actor had stated her inability to take the project forward owing to the paucity of funds and the state government had assured help to the colony, no further action was being initiated against the foundation. The Rs 10 lakh offered would be accepted for construction of houses when the people of colony were shifted to safe locations, he said.

The actor or foundation officials were not available for comment.

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