No election heat seen in Nedumkayam colony; residents know only struggles to survive
Nedumkayam (Malappuram): Cherupuzha check post has been closed for some time. Only the colony residents and those with urgent requirements are allowed to pass through the check post. Tourists have no permission to visit the Dawson graveyard and the elephant camp nearby.
No vote, no politics
Nedumkayam tribal colony can be seen a little far from the check post premises. Over 100 families are residing in the colony. Though they have connectivity to the outer world, the election heat has not touched them yet.
Aneesh and Shari, the young couple in the colony, have no knowledge about the election. Their names are not added in the voters list. So is the case with their neighbour Bindu. When asked about votes, they said nobody came to add their name in the list.
The youngsters are concerned of decline in work. They get only works related to employment guarantee scheme. They can earn upto Rs 700, but only very rarely. COVID crisis has hit the colonies too. Pension is disbursed at the right time without fail. Elderly people like Ammini cast vote to the candidate suggested by her husband or children.
Flood and kit
Nedumkayam was badly hit by the floods in 2018 and 2019. Some of them received compensation while others were totally ignored. The food kit distributed by the government is available through ration shops. Medicine supply also is regular.
Neelan from Mundakkadavu colony lost his house in the flood and is living in a makeshift shed. The procedures to give land to the victims is not completed yet. The major crisis is lack of regular work. Most of the colony residents are unaware of even the dates of election.
Education and job
School children in the colony are struggling to attend the online classes. Unlike the children in cities, these kids have no access to smart phones and the curricular activities performed via online. They can attend classes telecast through television in alternate schools. The teachers of alternate schools get only Rs 19,000 per month. They have no other benefits and allowances.
The educated youth are not interested in politics. They are not offered even temporary jobs. Kiran, a graduate from the colony, studied in Mar Thoma College in Thiruvananthapuram. Swapna, a BSc holder in the colony, is now working as daily wage labourer. They are not fully aware of the controversies related to PSC appointments. But they keep trying for a better job.
Tribal colony residents are used to the treatment of politicians. They only visit the colonies for seeking votes. The residents complained that they don’t even get the wage as per employment guarantee scheme properly. Only 200 days of work is assured through the scheme and Rs 291 is paid as wage.
They want a check dam in Karimbuzha river which is only the source of water for the colony residents. However, the request falls on deaf ears. Political leaders visit them during election and then totally ignore their demands.