Drugs, social issues grip Paniya Adivasi colony


K M Baiju Kozhikode

Majority of men and women in the colony use drugs and the money from daily wage and government benefits are spent on this. Thus, children also fall prey to drugs from a tender age.

Despite the policies and crores of rupees spent for the welfare of tribal people, Paniya Adivasi colony in Kodenchery grama panchayat, Kozhikode proves that the Adivasi communities are still far behind the main stream society. The adverse practises like children not going to schools, drug addict parents, fatalities caused by unknown diseases and child marriages hold back the community from keeping on par with others.

Paniya tribes live in the colony which is situated in 10 acres of land. It has nearly 150 inhabitants living in 34 houses. Majority of men and women in the colony use drugs and the money from daily wage and government benefits are spent on this. Thus, children also fall prey to drugs from a tender age.

Fourteen students of the colony study at St Thomas LP School, Nellippoyil. Although the school bus arrives in the morning to pick students, they go to school rarely. Elders in the colony give least importance for education.

Earlier, there was a ‘mentor’ in the colony and children then had gone to school without any failure. As the mentor role ended, lapses started to appear. Eldest woman in the colony Muthi used to prepare children for school in the morning. But as she aged she can’t do it anymore.

Tribal extension officer A Shamir said that students who are in the high school were shifted to tribal hostels. Next year onwards, students from LP section also will be admitted to hostel.

Only Bineesh, son of Matha in the colony has passed SSLC. Bineesh who was not interested in higher education is now doing daily labour. People in the colony normally don’t cook food in houses. Little children would eat from anganwadi in the colony. However, on holidays, food is a mystery.

Sai Trust activists distribute food on Sundays. Elders commonly eat from hotels when they go for work. They get 30 kg rice every month free of cost as ration. But, ration store of some families are at Mundoor, which is far from the colony. They have to pay Rs 100 to hire an autorickshaw to bring ration home.

Five years back, a woman called Patta had died in the colony due to poverty. Following her death, husband abandoned the colony. Their sixth-standard-student is in a tribal hostel.

In another incident, a seventh-standard-girl gave birth to a baby and in connection with the case, a young man in the colony was jailed under POCSO act. There is no one to look after the girl and child and as the incident grabbed attention, court ordered to provide food to them from anganwadi. Child marriage is also common among them.

In recent time, many had died due to unknown diseases in the colony. Nine of colony dwellers are affected with sickle cell disease and government provides them an aid of Rs 2000. Their tribal headman Velutha and his two children had also succumbed to unknown disease.

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