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TIRUNELVELI: The ‘narikorava' (gypsy) families of Valliyoor, who received free house sites from the government in the rapidly developing Poonga Nagar (Park Town) recently, have finally got drinking water facility, thanks to the timely action taken by Collector S. Natarajan even as his subordinates were not even prepared to consider this plea.
On coming to know about the problems being faced by the gypsy families, who were settled in a place that lacked any basic amenity, Mr. Natarajan even camped at Radhapuram recently and asked his subordinates to ensure drinking water supply to the gypsy colony within 24 hours. And the Collector's order was executed, much to the jubilation of the Narikoravas.
Mr. Natarajan, who came to Valliyoor on Saturday evening for an inspection, went to the Narikorava Colony at 6 p.m., which was not quite expected by his subordinates. The Collector, who spent nearly 20 minutes in the colony, interacted with the gypsies to understand their needs. Even as they wanted to have road, streetlights and other facilities, Mr. Natarajan asked one Veera, a gypsy, and one more person from the colony to meet him at the Collectorate on Monday during the weekly grievance day meeting.
Even as the elders of the gypsy community wanted official machinery to create basic infrastructure there, their children tried their level best to tell the Collector that they wanted to go to school. But the elders' voice submerged the children's genuine grievance.
When the Collector came to know about the children's desire through a reporter, he reportedly had a discussion with his subordinates, particularly with the officials of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan on providing informal education to the gypsy children before shifting them to the regular schools. If a permanent arrangement is evolved to educate the 33 gypsy children, all above the age of 5 years, it would certainly bring about a change in the life of these children, who are now being forced by their parents to beg at Valliyoor bus-stand, a Rotarian said.
The Rotary Club of Valliyoor Central is playing a commendable role in rehabilitating the gypsies. When the drinking water pipeline was laid, it had to be taken through a private land. When the owner of the land was seriously thinking about obtaining a stay from the court, the Rotarians pacified the owner, who later agreed to it.
The Rotary Club of Valliyoor Central has now formed a 3-member committee comprising Dr. Kumara Murugan and two retired government officials for looking after the welfare of these hapless gypsies.
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