//RMS: Adivasi students denied school bus facility at Aralam farm

RMS: Adivasi students denied school bus facility at Aralam farm

KANNUR: Rashtriya Maha Sabha (RMS) general secretary M. Geethanandan has accused the Aralam farm authorities of discriminating against the 100-odd Adivasi students rehabilitated there.

Mr. Geethanandan told a press conference here on Thursday that studies of the Adivasi students, who had secured admission to the Government U.P. School inside the farm, were in disarray following the farm authorities' decision to `terminate' their conveyance facilities.

"The school was originally set up for children of farm employees and the school bus was being used by them," he said. When the State Government had purchased the farm by paying Rs.42 crores from the Adivasi fund, the school bus was valued at Rs. 8 lakhs, he added.

Over a 100 Adivasi children secured admission in the school after 840 Adivasi families were given title deeds and they had started settling in different parts of the farm.

When the rehabilitation process had started, the Government assured the Adivasis that all facilities in the farm would be utilised for their uplift, Mr. Geethanandan said adding that the school bus should also have been used for the conveyance of Adivasi students.

Instead, 100-odd Adivasi students have been deprived of the bus service even as the farm authorities were using a jeep to send three children of farm staff studying in a school outside the farm, he added.

Mr. Geethanandan said that the farm authorities were apathetic to the issue despite representations from the school headmaster and school PTA and a mass petition by the Adivasis to the District Collector.

Mr. Geethanandan said that the RMS would launch an agitation against the farm authorities after submitting a memorandum to the Chief Minister and Ministers concerned. He also said that the Government was yet to introduce job guarantee programmes, financial assistance or free ration to the Adivasis living in the farm. "The assurance that all landless Adivasis would be given title deeds in the farm by March 31 is yet to be fulfilled," he said.

A convention would be held in the farm on July 15 under the auspices of the RMS to mark the inauguration of various agricultural schemes being launched by the self-help groups (SHGs) formed by the Adivasis.

There were nearly 30 SHGs formed among the tribals in the farm of which 10 were actively involved in agriculture activities, he said. One SHG was in the process of setting up a seed bank, he added. A non-governmental organisation was involved in giving training to the Adivasis in bamboo-based handicrafts, he added.