Slew of welfare measures announced for Kerala tribals

Palakkad (Kerala), June 6 (IANS) A slew of welfare measures was announced for the tribals of Kerala's Attapadi village in Palakkad district after the visit of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh Thursday.

The plight of the tribals was highlighted after 41 infant deaths were reported in the village in the past 18 months.

The benefits announced by Chandy include Below Poverty Line (BPL) ration cards for all families, an acre of land for every landless family, and training for 250 tribal youths to make them employable.

The chief minister announced that financial assistance would be provided to all mothers who lost their infants.

To strengthen the health system in the area, all medical professionals who opt to work in the village and the district would get preferential allotment in post-graduate courses, Chandy said.

The minister for rural development said a special task force would be formed by the central government to oversee development of Attapady.

He also assured the people that the state supported women-oriented programme Kudumbashree would be given special funds to be utilised for the welfare of tribal women.

Ramesh, who interacted with the tribals for some time, urged them to stop drinking liquor and als asked the state government to start an aggressive anti-liquor campaign in the area.

Earlier this week, Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V.S. Achuthanandan visited the village and described the situation there as "Somalia type" which needed immediate government attention.

The monsoon session of Kerala assembly is scheduled to begin next Monday.

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