MYSURU: The state government may be promoting several housing projects, but things seem to have not changed on the ground. A case in point: With no roof over his head, Gajja, a Jenu Kuruba tribe, at Malaganakere tribal haadi in Periyapatna taluk, has been living on trees for the past two years. He has no money to build a house and also, no help from the authorities has his way.
Gajja had been living in a hut for more than 50 years at Malaganakere haadi in Naviluru village. However, he became shelterless when forest officials pulled down his hut. They also dug a trench and put up solar fencing restricting the movement of 24 families, including Gajja.Left with no other option or any house to take shelter, Gajja started living on a mango tree which was planted by his grandfather on his field.
He managed to bring bamboos from the forest and created a shelter on the tree to save himself from wild animals, particularly elephant.Gajja cooks food before sunset and takes his belongings, including utensils, vessels and others, to the tent erected on the 40-ft tree. As his wife Shobha, who is working as maid at a house at Rani Gate, can’t climb tree, she lives at the landlord’s house.His older son Kulla is married and works in a nearby estate and second son is a student at an Ashram school. Gajja’s housing problem turns complex when his son comes on vacation to the village. He is also forced to stay on the tree.
Village headman Rajaiah said the haadi does not have basic facilities and forest and revenue officials turned a deaf ear to villagers’ requests for roads, houses, power and other benefits.Though the government claimed that tribals are given half acres, many families have not yet got it, he alleged.Gajja said during rainy season, he struggles a lot. “Elephant menace is another concern. I have faced death on many occasions when elephants pulled down branches of the tree I live in,” he saidSources said forest officials could not allot Gajja a site or allow him to construct a house as he lives inside the forest and there is scope for rehabilitation if he is ready to move out.
Deputy Commissioner D
Randeep said the district administration is not aware of the houseless tribal living on a tree for two years.
He said the assistant commissioner and the tribal development officer will be sent to the haadi to know about issues.He said they will look for all options to provide a house and rehabilitate the Jenu Kuruba tribal. The authorities will be directed to give him ration card and other benefits, the DC said.