THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government will not allow eviction of tribal people from forests, said Tribal Welfare Minister A K Balan. “Action will be taken against officials who try to evict tribals from forest land. The government’s vision on tribal development does not confine to giving benefits. Steps are being taken to raise the living standards of tribal folk,” he said during a visit to the Podiyakkala settlement in the capital on Wednesday.
The minister’s visit was amidst heavy rains at the remote tribal settlement. He suggested remedial measures for a host of issues faced by the inhabitants. The minister assigned ST Development Department director P Pugazhendi to take immediate steps to build a road to the settlement, set up a potable water project and a mobile phone tower. For ensuring safe drinking water throughout the year the minister directed officials to set up a project at the natural spring at Palakkod.
The minister’s visit to the settlement was to inaugurate the valedictory of the state-level observance of International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Programmes were held in 4500 tribal oorus and at the district, block and grama panchayat levels.
The minister said the government aims to bring the tribal population to the mainstream without losing their culture and traditional knowledge. The minister urged all stakeholders to work for freeing tribal settlements from drug and alcohol abuse. The minister honoured veterans in the settlement. They were tribal singer Aruviyal, ethnic medicine practitioner Thankappan Kani, Mathan Kani, chieftain Sreekumar and Parappi.