Chennai, Jan 7
ICAR – Sugarcane Breeding Institute (ICAR-SBI), Coimbatore in collaboration with Anamalai Tiger Reserve, conducted a campaign on “Knowledge empowerment of tribals’ and launched its STC (Scheduled Tribe Component) project at Attagatti in Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR), on 5 January 2022.
Welcoming ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute’s decision to implement the STC project in Anamalai Tiger Reserve, Shri M.G.Ganesan, Deputy Director of Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR), in his inaugural address said that the Institute has taken utmost care in identifying appropriate interventions for the tribals in the reserve, who live in very remote, almost inaccessible settlements. Unlike other tiger reserves, the Anamalai Tiger Reserve has diverse groups of indigenous people, he mentioned.
Referring to the ‘Malasar’ tribes who are of great help to the Forest Department in training the elephants with their profound knowledge and skill on handling Asian elephants, the Deputy Director said that saving tribals is akin to saving forests. He also released the extension pamphlets published by ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute during the occasion.
Outlining the ICAR-SBI STC team’s efforts in identifying the apt interventions for the tribals, Dr G.Hemaprabha in her Presidential address mentioned that literacy rates among the tribal population is much less compared to the general population. Tribals , women and children in particular , should be aware of the fact that education is essential not only for their economic development and prosperity, but also to preserve their culture, she added.
Mentioning that ‘action is more important that speech’, Dr Hemaprabha said that the tribal beneficiaries need to actively participate & make use of the STC project, effectively . With the co-operation of the tribals, the Institute is hopeful of witnessing positive results from the technological interventions by ICAR-SBI in the tribal settlements of Anamalai Tiger Reserve in the next few years, she added.
In his introductory remarks, Dr. D. Puthira Prathap, Principal Scientist and Nodal Officer, STC , mentioned that is the first time this project is being implemented in ATR. The interventions by the Institute for implementing STC, was finalized based on a systematic need assessment by conduct of Focus groups among two tribes viz., ‘Malasar’ and ‘Malai malasar’ tribes belonging to the tribal settlements of Nagaroothu -1, Nagaroothu – 2, Old Sarkarpathy, Chinnarpathy, Koomaatti and Paalakinaru. Mentioning that over 47 lakhs of Indian tribal children suffer from chronic nutrition deprivation, he said that the tribal community in these settlements, will be educated on setting up and maintaining a nutrition garden and kitchen garden seed kits will be distributed during this campaign on ‘knowledge empowerment of tribals’ . Along with distribution of radio sets, the tribals are being informed of those radio programmes that could assist in their knowledge empowerment. ICAR-SBI is also distributing farm tools, household items and seedlings to the tribal folk in the villages, he added.
STC team from ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute, tribal village heads and officials from Tamil Nadu forest department, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University & All India Radio participated in the event.