COIMBATORE/COONOOR: Governor Banwarilal Purohit, while speaking at a function held at Udhagamandalam on Monday said that the Central and State government had been implementing various welfare schemes to ensure all-round development for the scheduled tribes. He was speaking at Tribal Youth Empowerment and Entrepreneurship, 102nd Birthday Celebration Of Nilgiri Adivasis Welfare Association (NAWA) Founder Padmashri Dr S Narasimhan and exhibition on 62 years of NAWA at Resource Centre for Tribal Culture (RCTC). He said projects like housing, drinking, water facilities, sanitation, road access and community halls have been successfully completed in tribal villages.
Talking about education schemes, he said that for promoting education among tribal Scheduled Tribe communities, the Tamil Nadu government was also running 24 Government Tribal Residential Schools and one Ekalavya model school in the Nilgiris. Tribal students also receive free education in professional courses and the government was giving full subsidy to this. He added that it was important that these facilities were fully utilised by the tribal communities.
History of the Association
NAWA was founded in 1958 by Narasimhan with the objective of working for the welfare and development of the tribal communities Nilgiris, Coimbatore and Erode and in the neighbouring districts of Karnataka and Kerala.
He who has completed his Licentiate in Indian Medicine from the Kilpauk Medical College has attended the delivery successfully to a tribal woman and this led forming of NAWA. NAWA thereafter established daily clinics, hospitals, creches and nutrition centres in various parts of the Nilgiris. Among the tribes of Nilgiris, which constitute nearly 5% of the district’s population, 6 groups find special mention as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Communities.
They are the Todas, a pastoral community, Kotas, a community engaging in carpentry and blacksmith. Irulas, who are the collectors of minor forest products, however, they now engage in agriculture work involving tea, coffee, spices etc., Kurumbas, traditional healers and honey hunters, Paniyas, who mainly engage in agriculture and Kattunaikas who are traditional forest dwellers and familiar with wildlife forest trails etc.
What governor said
It is necessary to ensure that these vulnerable tribes were given special attention to ensure a smooth merger with the mainstream population. NAWA has started the practice of honouring such individuals who have contributed in a large measure for tribal uplift.
Governor Purohit urged The Nilgiris district administration to provide civic amenities in tribal living areas. “For promoting the education among scheduled tribes, TN Government is running 24 Tribal Residential Schools and one Ekalavya model school in The Nilgiris. Tribal students receive free education for professional courses for which the Government provides total subsidy,” he said.
“Recently, the Government has sanctioned the construction of 300 houses in Gudalur block in just a single village panchayat. It is important that these and other facilities are fully utilised by tribal communities treating them as rungs of the ladder to move up socially and economic-wise in society,” he noted.