Warrier backtracks from tribal colony development offer

Popular Malayalam actor Manju Warrier (DH File Photo)

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

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

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

However, the foundation has now maintained that it so far 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 as proposed 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 to 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, who had approached the District Legal Services Authority of Wayanad seeking action against Manju Foundation for cheating, said that since the foundation offered comprehensive development of the colony and it was approved by the panchayat, the members of the colony were not getting the benefits of various government welfare schemes.

However, since the actor had informed her inability to take forward the project owing to paucity of funds and the state government assured to help the colony, no further actions were 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 comments.

It may be recalled that Manju lodged a police petition the other day against director Shrikumar Menon raising various allegations including fears of misusing the foundation's letterhead and changes.

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