Tribal villagers trek 5km for ration in Tamil Nadu, seek PDS shop
The lack of bus services to the village compounds the problems of the people as they have to walk or use two-wheelers to reach the PDS shop in Anchetti every month.
KRISHNAGIRI: Around 170 families in Kadakanatham, a hilly village in Anchetti, are forced to trek for five km to purchase rations as the area does not have a designated/part-time PDS shop. The lack of bus services to the village compounds the problems of the people as they have to walk or use two-wheelers to reach the PDS shop in Anchetti every month and return with about 30 kg of commodities.
V Salammal (28), a resident of Kadakanatham, said, “ We gave a petition to revenue department officials at the recent grama sabha meeting seeking a part-time PDS shop. I came to this village seven years ago when I got married. Ever since it has been very difficult for me to go to the ration shop in Anchetti. Only a few people own two-wheelers and mostly women go to the PDS shop as men go away for work. We carry about 30 kg of commodities, including rice, on our heads. If we have luck, someone passing through our village will take us in their vehicle or we have to walk up the hill for six kilometres.”
Another villager K Madhesh (52) said they could arrange a building to open a part-time ration shop in the village, but officials were not ready to fulfil their long pending demand. After being contacted, Anchetti taluk supply officer R Balakrishnan visited the village along with TNIE on Tuesday evening and held inquiries with the people. He added that within a month a proposal will be sent to the district supply officer to open a part-time ration shop.
Staff in Manjukondapalli and Urigam panchayat office said two proposals were sent to the district administration seeking permission to open part-time ration shop in the area. According to sources, a proposal for a new part-time ration shop at Gesthur in Manjukondapalli panchayat was sent two months ago after people complained that they had traveled more than three kilometres to the PDS shop in Manjukondapalli.
Also, another proposal for a part-time ration shop at Kovalli village bifurcating from the Urigam full-time ration shop was demanded by villagers for many years. Both proposals are allegedly pending at the Co-operative society. A panchayat-level staff said a new part-time ration shop for Kovalli is not possible, because two shops are functioning in the panchayat.
When contacted Joint Registrar of Co-operative, M Ekambaram, said, “A ration shop at Anchetti is under the control of Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation, so Anchetti Taluk Supply Officer should send a report to District Supply Officer for the need of part-time ration shop at Kadakanatham village, and i will check other two proposals. About 75 part-time ration shops have been opened in Krishnagiri in the past two years.”