Demographic trends bode ill for Kadars

The vulnerable Kadar tribal community in Kerala is subject to demographic change as the number of male members has reduced to single digits in most settlements.

  • People belonging to this community are the ancient inhabitants of Nelliyampathi hill ranges in Palakkad district.
  • They mainly live in Cherunelli settlement, located at the entrance of the Nelliyampathi hills ranges that house the famous Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, Pullukad settlement and few other such settlements.

Concerns/problems/challenges:

  • The vulnerable Kadar tribal community is getting subjected to alarming levels of demographic change as the number of male members is getting reduced to single digit in most of the settlements.
  • Livelihood destruction and alienation from forests are also impacting heavily on the community’s sustenance.
  • Poverty and malnutrition are rampant among these earlier honey gatherers.
  • The controversy over the proposed Athirapally hydal power project has brought the plight of the Kadar community in the Vazhachal region of Thrissur district to public focus.
  • For these people, life is a constant battle against heavy odds including ill-health and lack of social security measures.
  • With major plantations in Nelliyampathi are in crisis, the tribal people lost all scopes of permanent jobs.
  • The forest is also inaccessible to them because of the non-implementation of the historic Community Forest Rights Act.
  • There is no tribal residential school in the entire region to support the educational needs of the kids. Most of the single-teacher schools in Kadar settlements have turned non-functional as the teachers are paid only Rs.3000 as salary.
  • Experts say that alcoholism and excess use of tobacco are taking their toll on the life of the tribesmen.

Hence, immediate intervention of the State government is needed to improve their livelihoods.

News Item Compiled by Apoorv Kumar Chaudhary

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