Kolam Adivasi children unable to learn alphabets due to lack of Anganwadi centres
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Pillalamarri Srinivas
ADILABAD: Many Adivasi children, especially Kolam Adivasis who are considered a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG), are unable to learn the alphabets due to the lack of Anganwadi centers in their villages. Parents are not willing to send their children to schools in other villages due to concerns of safety and other reasons.
The living conditions of Kolams are pathetic. Deeply wedded to nature, they depend on the sale of items made of bamboo they collect from the forests to make a living. Many Kolams do not have agricultural land for cultivation purposes.
Kumram Suru Yuva Sena district general secretary, Kumara Raju, said the organisation had submitted proposals to officials for setting up of Anganwadi centers in Kolam gudas including Masala-Dubbaguda, Chinnugida and Douna villages in Bela mandal, Ganeshpur- Kolamguda in Narnoor mandal and Nishanighat in Adilabad Rural mandal, but there was no response yet.
Several Kolam Adivasis, including children, are suffering from anemia and are more prone to health problems. If these children are sent to school, they would get some nutritious food. For this, there is the need for setting up of Anganwadi centres of the ITDA (Integrated Tribal Development Agency) in such villages, activists point out.
One such village is Nishanghat, a Kolamguda where 13 Kolam families live. It has a small population of 40 members. The village has no power supply. ITDA Utnoor has provided solar power panels to all the families in Dec 2022, after which these families have fans and lights.
Due to lack of an anganwadi, many children there ended up as child labourers. Parents have urged district officials to set up anganwadis in their respective villages. Nearly 12 children below the age of 8 live there. They play in the village when their parents are engaged in works at Nishanighat in Thippa gram panchayat of Adilabad Rural mandal.
Some parents had joined their children in government hostels. They studied in primary classes in Gadiguda and Jainad mandals. But, the other children are unlucky to have education. Some of the girl children there are playing the role of babysitters when their parents are engaged in agricultural work. A married woman, Kodapa Radhabai of the same village, can read and write Telugu Alphabets and numbers. She said her brothers and sisters taught her at home.
Several interior villages have no Anganwadi centre in Indravelli, Gadiguda, Narnoor, Sirikonda, Gudihathnoor, Bajarhathnoor and Boath, Adilabad Rural, Bela and Utnoor mandals in Adilabad district. Such villages remain cut off from the outer world. There is no proper road connectivity to these villages as many of them are located on the hillocks in the deep forests, with lesser populations.
There is a total of around 60,000 Kolam population in the Old Adilabad district. Many Kolams are suffering from various health problems. The living conditions in the Kolam gudams have turned from bad to worse due to the lack of governmental attention to these areas in the last ten years.
The Ganeshpur-Kolamguda hamlet in Narnoor mandal resembles the poor African countries where people live in pathetic conditions. Some Kolam families are living in old government-constructed houses that are now in dilapidated conditions with no roof. There has been no Anganwadi centre for the children of this village for a long time.