THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In spite of the frequently heard developmental and welfare projects for the Scheduled Castes of the state, their living standards have not improved as has been expected, according to report prepared by the Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA).
Around 14.5 lakh people belonging to Scheduled Castes living in colonies own just 29,000 acres of land. A total of 3.4 lakh families reside in this, it adds. The report also found out that 71,367 families are homeless and 2.5 lakh families live in one room houses in miserable conditions.
Though a total 36,084 acres of land was allotted to them as per figures, only 29,690 acres were suitable for farming activities and setting up dwellings. The SC population of the state is 23.52 lakh, comprising 5.58 lakh families. Out of them, 55 per cent are living in 26,198 colonies spread over all the districts.
The report also pointed out that 2.2 lakh of the SC population are illiterate and in this category, 27,355 are children in the age group of five and nine. A surprising finding of the survey, contrary to general belief, is that the number of illiterates is on the rise.
The report also found that around 66 per cent of the SC families are below poverty line. On health indicators, the survey report said that there are 26 HIV+ve persons, 2588 cancer-affected persons, 1904 tuberculosis patients and 1587 leprosy patients among the Scheduled Castes.
Around 1.5 lakh families suffer from drinking water shortage as they have access to drinking water only for six months in a year. Electricity is still alien for 8.63 per cent families in SC colonies, the report said.