TIRUCHY: The district administration’s initiative of supplying tribal community residents at Pachamalai hills in the district with milch cows and bulls has come in for appreciation among the beneficiaries who say the supplemental income from the cattle helps them earn a livelihood in the absence of regular work.
Pachamalai hills at Thuraiyur comprises the Vannadu, Kombai, and Thenparanadu panchayats. Occupied majorly by tribal community residents, they earn their livelihood by cultivating cassava, cashew, and paddy. As most of them do not go outside for work, they often struggle with a meagre income. Learning this, the district administration, in a bid to improve their livelihoods, on July 27 distributed 112 milch cows and calves and 10 bulls to as many as 70 residents.
Tiruchy Collector M Pradeep Kumar handed over the cattle to the beneficiaries in the presence of Minister for Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare N Kayalvizhi and Minister for Municipal Administration KN Nehru. The move has come in for praise among the beneficiaries.
Mentioning her family to be from a modest background, Muthulakshmi Saravanan, a farmer from Thenparanadu, said, “My husband and I cultivate cassava over two acres of our land. When there is no farming, we take up casual labour. But we do not earn enough from this as a result of which we struggle to support ours sons' studies.”
"As we are in the hills we are not able to go outside and work every day. It was in this situation that the district administration gave us a milch cow and calf. We hope this will improve our livelihood. Apart from this, officials said that there are various schemes to improve our livelihood. If they are implemented soon it will help us," she added.
Another farmer, Saravanan, said, "I cultivate cassava on my one acre of land. As there is not enough income, I work as a car driver for some time in order to help my family. That, however, cannot meet the household needs. Currently, the milch cow and calf provided by the government help us to earn at least Rs 200 a day. This helps us meet our daily needs."
The milk from the cattle is mostly sold to locals. "We can generate fodder for the cattle in our field. That will reduce our feed costs," Saravanan added.
When contacted, Collector M Pradeep Kumar told TNIE, "We have planned activities like arranging sale of cashews at a good price, promoting beekeeping, cultivation and good marketing of cassava, pepper, chilli, vegetables, and millet produce. We will implement them soon to improve the livelihood of the residents."