Chethana CHDP has been working for development of coconut farmers and laborers for the past 4 years in and around Udumalpet, Tamilnadu South India. After discussion with Chethana, it was decided that delivery of dry rations for 20 families of the Puliyar tribal community who is a coconut farm laborers locked down in Mylamduparai village.
Most of the intended target groups are tribal or indigenous communities, marginalized farmers, and farm laborers or coolies. Such development activities have been ongoing which also included livelihood activities in animal husbandry and small scale farming.
However, due to the Covid19 crisis, the Chethana CHDP objectives were to provide relief kits for the Poliyar tribal people, who were at one point of time residing within the hilly forest tracts of the Anaimalai Hills.
After the region was declared as a National Park, and the Anaimalai Tiger Reserve (ATR), they were asked to relocate outside the ATR. The government provided land, but the Poliyars are yet to acclimatize to the present landscape, after years of living in the hill forest were they directly were dependent on forest produce for a living.
The moment funds were realized in the bank, Chethana CHDP, ensured purchase orders for required quantity of food materials, such as potatoes, onions, dal, cooking oil, sambar powder and rice, which were directly sent to the Chethana CHDP office premises. These were repacked in required quantity, for cartage and delivery. One of the field staff close to the village was assigned to get in touch with village headman and committee members including the local panchayat officials.
All the kits were loaded on a utility van and transported 30 km away from Udumalpet to the village. Materials were distributed to the community members in the presence of Panchayat officials including Mr. Seliyan, President. This was a team effort from Chethana CHDP, and key members of the community also pitched in with the arrangements. Chethana CHDP is grateful for the donors for the much needed monetary aid or this event would have not been possible.
During the course of interaction with women and elders of the community, this aid in the form food supplies will help them during these difficult times. The village is remote and children have to foot it out to a local primary school which is located about 6-7 km away from this village. Even a reliable medical clinic or PHC is far away. Due to the lack of public transport due to lockdown, people are not able to access government PDS ration shops.