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Call to constitute separate ministry for tribal affairs

Staff Reporter

Appeals made at workshop on `Plight of Tribes in Tamil Nadu'

DINDIGUL: Constitution of a separate ministry for tribal affairs would ensure adequate protection and uplift of tribal people languishing in the hills. Opening direct procurement centres for minor forest produce and giving tribals the right to collect and sell them would enhance their living standards.

These appeals were made at a workshop on the "Plight of Tribes in Tamil Nadu" held at Gandhigram Rural Institute in Gandhigram near here on Friday.

Highlighting the plights of tribal people, including the severity of `sickle-cell anaemia' that decimated hundreds of tribals in Nilgiris, representatives of various non-governmental organisations cautioned on an imminent threat of AIDS among tribal people. They said antenatal and post-natal care among pregnant women and lactating mothers was poor. Recruitment of local tribal people as health workers, provision of medical kits to traditional `thais' for conducting home deliveries and intensive awareness would contain spread of contagious diseases to a large extent.

Tailor-made education

They also expressed a grave concern over non-issuance of community certificates to genuine tribal people that affected their chances of getting admission in schools and availing government benefits. They suggested creation of a tribal people-centred curriculum and practice-based method of education exclusively for these people.

Forum convenor M.P. Boraian appealed to financial institutions, funding agencies and corporate houses to frame policies in favour of tribal people. Representatives of 45 non-governmental organisations working for tribes, including primitive tribal groups in 18 districts, took part in the workshop, which was inaugurated by GRI Vice-Chancellor T. Karunakaran. Professor N. Narayanasamy also spoke.

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