Lack of community certificates affecting children's education, say Anthaneri residents in TN

When asked how many community certificates were issued to the residents of Anthaneri after she took charge as RDO, Shalini did not provide an answer.
Kattunaicken community people residing in Anthaneri area in the city facing challenges to get community certificates for their wards
Kattunaicken community people residing in Anthaneri area in the city facing challenges to get community certificates for their wards(Photo | K.KSundar, EPS)

MADURAI: Faced with challenges in obtaining community certificates for their children, residents of the Kattunayakan community near Anthaneri are unable to avail of reservations and enrol them in educational institutions. As a result, students who have cleared Class 12 are forced to study at private colleges, paying huge sums as fees.

Anathaneri, which falls under ward 10 of the city corporation, has over 300 families and more than 600 eligible voters. People have been residing here since 1962, after obtaining free pattas from the government and several residents have also completed their higher education. Nearly 23 residents of the area also work in various government departments, after completing their studies and obtaining jobs through reservation.
However, in recent days, they have been facing difficulties obtaining community certificates and have taken out protests in this regard.

Speaking to TNIE, RB Sakarakattai, a resident, said, “When I applied for a community certificate for my grandson Neelakandan, Madurai RDO Shalini delayed issuing the certificate. As a result, he had to enrol in a private engineering college, paying more than `1 lakh in fees.”
Neelakandan’s case is not a one-off instance. Many students face challenges joining government and government-aided colleges due to the lack of community certificates.

A Siva, another resident, told TNIE, “I completed BA Tamil after studying at a private college. However, I was unable to further my studies and write the state and central government’s competitive exams. Now, I work at a pharmacy in a private hospital.”

Anthaneri Kattunaicken Welfare Society president P Pitchai Periyanan said that as per G.O. 104 issued by the Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Board dated August 21, 2023, the caste of a person is determined based on the caste of their parents. The competent authority shall not refuse issuance of a community certificate in favour of a claimant who relies upon the community certificate issued and verified by the state-level scrutiny committee of his parents, brothers, sisters, or close blood relative, which is supported by a genealogy tree issued by the concerned revenue authority.
"As per the G.O., applicants here provide the requisite documents, but the RDO allegedly sent back all the applicants, stating that the VAO, RI and other authorities’ reports were not attached. These documents must be attached by the officials and not the applicant. Nearly 33 applications were sent to us," he pointed out.

Anthaneri Kattunaicken Welfare Society’s Secretary S Chinnapandi said that for a year and a half, they have not received community certificates from the district administration, denying students a chance to enrol in Kendra Vidyalaya schools at the entry-level. “Though their blood relations received certificates, the competent authority denied community certificates to us. Since 1962, we have been residing here. Officials are inquiring about our food culture, type of residence and other details. Our lifestyle was different when we used to hunt in the forests. Now, we expect inclusion and wish to lead our lives on par with the rest," he said.

Chinnapandi urged Chief Minister MK Stalin and Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Minister N Kayalvizhi Selvaraj to pay special attention and help obtain community certificates.

Shalini refuted the charges that community certificates were not issued, stating that if sufficient documents are not attached, the applications will be sent back to the citizens’ portal. “I did not keep community certificate applications pending for more than 15 days. When I took charge, nearly 400 applications were pending. I cleared these after verification. Sometimes, I may not be satisfied during the inquiry. In such cases, the applicants can file an appeal petition and obtain the certificates. Without submitting the applications, they just claimed they did not receive community certificates," she said.


When asked how many community certificates were issued to the residents of Anthaneri after she took charge as RDO, Shalini did not provide an answer. 

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