Tribal development comes to nought

Tribal development comes to nought
Highlights

With several key posts in the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), Eturnagaram, have remained vacant for a long time, the very concept of the special body meant for welfare and socio-economic development of Adivasis has become a mirage.

Eturnagaram (Bhupalpally): With several key posts in the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), Eturnagaram, have remained vacant for a long time, the very concept of the special body meant for welfare and socio-economic development of Adivasis has become a mirage.

Established in 1975-76, the Eturnagaram ITDA seems to be petering out aimlessly with many a key department such as agriculture, fisheries, sericulture, animal husbandry etc. remaining headless for the last couple of years. Precisely, half of the sanctioned posts in the ITDA are vacant.

While the official figures suggest that there are 22 posts vacant in the Eturnagaram ITDA against the sanctioned posts of 43. Although there was a provision to have 15 outsourcing posts, none of them were filled. This apart, there are hundreds of posts lying vacant in education and health wings that come under district administration.

As a result, the welfare of the tribes living in 177 villages spread across 13 mandals (encompassing Bhupalpally, Warangal Rural and Mahabubabad districts) has come to a standstill. Split of districts also cast its shadow on the functioning of the ITDA.

Adding more woes, the State government is yet to clarify on certain issues such as command area of the Eturnagaram Agency. It may be mentioned here that Wajedu and Venkatapuram mandals have been transferred to Jayashankar-Bhupalpally district from Bhadrachalam ITDA (erstwhile district of Khammam) during the creation of new districts.

Since the merger, the people of these two mandals are a confused lot whether to approach the administration in Bhadrachalam or Eturnagaram. Official sources say that people living in these two mandals have to approach both the authorities.

The tribes have to approach Bhadrachalam ITDA for land issues while their health and education come under Bhupalpally district.The tribals of Gudur and Kothagudem mandals (now in Mahabubabad district) are also witnessing same problem. Although all the new districts have a Tribal Welfare Officer (TWO), the tribals were told to approach Eturnagaram ITDA.

On the other hand, the meetings of the ITDA governing body happen once in a blue moon. It’s been a long wait since that meeting held in June last year. As a result, there was no debate and resolutions to improve the services to tribals.

Speaking to The Hans India, ITDA Project Officer V Chakradhar Rao, who admitted staff crunch, said: “It’s a bit difficult but we are trying our level best to extend services to Adivasis. Without heads to agriculture, fisheries, sericulture etc., we have problem in reviewing the implementation of schemes.”

Adivasi Sankshema Parishad State Coordinator Madivi Nehru said: “The government diluted the very concept of the ITDAs by not allocating sufficient funds. This apart, the Tribal Sub-plan funds are also being diverted to other programmes.”

Referring to the problems of tribals in Wajedu and Venkatapuram mandals, he said that government needs to take district as a unit and establish an ITDA each to all the districts. He demanded the government to appoint adequate staff in all ITDAs so that to ensure proper implementation of all tribal welfare schemes.

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