Kerala Assembly elections | This tribal settlement sets a model with total voter turnout

Kurichiyad Kattunayakka settlement in Wayanad makes it a point to cast their votes

Members of the Kurichiyad Kattunayakka settlement, a remote Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG ) settlement inside the Wayanad Wildlife sanctuary, has set a model of sorts, with all its members exercising their franchise.

Majority of the tribespersons in the settlement may be illiterate, but they make it a point to cast their votes on the poll day. This time, all the 57 members of the 58 members in the voters’ list exercised their franchise at a polling booth set up in the former alternative school building in the settlement. However, a woman voter, Kully, who had left for Karnataka a few years ago could not cast her vote, said K. Balan, a member of the settlement. Earlier, security was stepped up in the area owing to Maoist threat.

The settlement, under the Noolpuzha grama panchayat, is nearly 9 km from the nearest town, Chethalayam. There were 73 families in the settlement till 2016, but 32 eligible families, belonging to the general category, had been relocated under a voluntary relocation project of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Though the tribespeople had refused to accept the project initially, they too followed suit later and subsequently were provided 50 cents of land to eligible families on the forest fringes at Valluvadi and Vadakkanad area three years ago.

In a limbo

However the project has been in a limbo since the land registration process was not completed, said A. Sindhu, a teachers training certificate holder from the hamlet.

“Twelve students from the hamlet are presently studying at the Rajeev Gandhi Memorial Model residential school at Kallur. However, I have been teaching them since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sindhu, also a mentor-teacher under the Gothrabandhu scheme under the tribal development department.

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