KOCHI: In a stark contrast to the wanton lack of self-discipline witnessed elsewhere, with the lockdown advisory being violated repeatedly, the tribals in Kuttampuzha have set an example by imposing restrictions on entry of outsiders into their colonies.As part of this, tribals have put up a barricade using bamboo reeds on the road leading up to the colonies. There are 21 colonies situated in the Kuttampuzha forest area and the farthest one is Uriyampetti, located around 25km deep inside the forest. Vehicles are allowed to proceed to the colony only in cases of emergency.
“The health department had conducted awareness classes on the need to avoid travel and the threat posed by coronavirus. The ‘ooru mooppans’ (tribal chieftains) agreed to implement the restrictions. We’ve erected a barricade on the road leading up to the settlements which will be opened only during emergency like shifting patients to hospitals. No outsiders, including traders, are allowed entry.
The panchayat and Tribal Welfare Department have providedessentials including rice and we’ve sufficient stock of food grain,” said Suku of Kunchippara colony, who is employed as a tribal watcher.The tribals, who collect forest produce, find it incredibly difficult to sell it since the shops are closed.
‘Tribals work as usual, no food scarcity’
“Many tribals have complained they don’t have money to purchase essentials. But they work as usual and there is no scarcity of food. Most of them are health conscious,” said Bineesh Narayanan, a tribal promoter.Meanwhile, the ASHA workers in the colonies monitor the health of the residents and update the health officials regularly. “Any grievously ill person will be brought to the health centre at Kuttampuzha,” said Anoop Thulasi, medical officer.