North East

Tripura: Tale of a pale tribal village

Tribal Woman collecting drinking water from natural sources.

September 23, 2018: In a recent public meeting Chief Minister of Tripura, Biplab Kumar Deb emphasized on welfare of the tribal communities and said, development of Tripura is deeply connected with progress of tribal people of the State and his government is committed to development of tribal communities.

“However, pulling the tribal people out of decades long darkness is not an easy task – in fact, the Herculean task requires a cohesive planning for proper implementation of Government schemes relating to Housing, electrification, drinking water etc. A look at tribal hamlets will reveal grim picture of tribal life”, said an Agartala based senior journalist.

A look at a tribal village, Ludhua – an obscure tribal village located 7 km away from Sabroom in South Tripura district aptly depicts task ahead of the new Government. The village is divided into East and West Ludhua ADC villages. There is a para – Rambarna Para – named after its veteran inhabitant – Rambarna Tripura.

Manoeuvring hilly terrain, tribal woman descended from her hilltop hut . Every morning she and her neighbours – inhabitant of Ludhua – along with their children walk down to foothill in search of drinking water – no matter whether it is raining hard or thick veil of fog during winter cover the hamlet.

Like many other deprived hamlets, Ludhua lacks basic amenities – inhabitants are facing drinking water crisis generation after generations, said Rambarna Tripura. Men and women leave houses every morning in search of water and food – this has become our daily routines for last few months, Rambarna sighed.

Explaining their daily hardships, Parba Tripura of West Ludhua alleged, “Rural economy is now under stress due to dearth of cash-in-hand. Temporary suspension of Social pensions and slow progress of MNREGA works have affected money flow in rural economy resulting alarming slump in rural markets and economy putting tribal people under severe financial stress”.  He also alleged, 16 out of total 20 families are facing serious food crisis.

It is unfortunate that when we are facing food crisis, lack of earning opportunities and overall in a grim situation, leaders of ruling coalition – BJP and IPFT are engaged in ‘ego-fight’ and supporters are involved in bloody clashes – a common mood expressed by villagers of East and West Ludhua.

However, the chairman of West Ludhua ADC village Sukhi Kumar Tripura rubbished the allegations of food crisis and scarcity of potable water. “There is food crisis in the village – these are malicious campaigning of CPM. We strongly believe we are striding forward with the guidance of local MLA Shankar Roy”, Shukhi Kumar said. He added, 17 man-days were created under MNREGA. “We have submitted a demand mentioning about requirement electric connections in 70 households and construction of houses under ‘Housing Scheme’ for 238 families. Social activist also denied reports of hunger in the village, but he stressed on constructive criticism. He also commented, villages require construction of bridges.

Although, Sukhi Kumar turned down allegation of food crisis and economic distress, business community in Sabroom and rural areas are not happy with emerging situation. While womenfolk digging wells near rivulets in quest of drinking water is not an uncommon sight, deplorable conditions of roads and bridges are glaring pointers to sufferings of inhabitants.

(With Inputs from Tapan Roy.)

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