The Malasar tribe settlement near the town is called Pollukad. Most of the indigenous population residing in these mountainous terrains practice a lifestyle that sustains and nurtures a healthy ecosystem.
Their battle for land and ownership can be traced all the way back to the pre-independence era. Gradually over the years they lost their land to orange farms,tea estates and tiger reserve. The land that they are currently residing in was temporarily allotted to them by the government. In actuality, these are un-farmed lands that belong to private orange farms.
There are about 156 families who belong to the Malasar tribe residing in the forests. Those who have jobs don’t stay here anymore. They have migrated to cities and bigger towns in search of greener pastures. Those who are unemployed are the worst afected.
Despite losing all their arable land, there are many houses today growing fruits and vegetables for their own consumption. However, wild boars end up destroying most of their produce and it gets more and more difficult to maintain their small farms.
They requested the government to let them put electric fences around their houses and farms to protect themselves from wild animals.
Much to their dismay, they were informed that they weren’t allowed to do so. Permanent structures cannot be built on temporary lands. And, going against the law amounts to criminal ofense. The tribe’s existence warrants little or no attention anymore. They are not even allowed to build proper permanent homes on the land. As a result they are forced to live in temporary flimsy wooden structures covered with plastic.
Because they are forced to live on temporarily allocated land they are unable to establish an ecosystem to cultivate the basic necessities. This is leading to malnutrition, lack of daily food, inability to generate minimum revenue, migration to cities where they are exploited and in culmination of all these issues the numbers of the tribe are declining at a rapid rate with no hope in sight for further generations.
Further due to the Government’s refusal to erect any permanent structures even basic equipment such as lighting is absent, leading to a threat to the lives of the tribals due to the danger of wild animals which are becoming more aggressive as even their territory is encroached by Government and other commercial entities.
They are left helpless in case of emergencies as they are unable to light their way and track their path to the nearest utilities. With time it only seems the divide between their existence and the rest of the civilization will grow apart until they are extinct due to bureaucracy and helplessness if they are not enabled with even the basic survival tools.
A simple solution such as lighting is hardly ever noticed in the modern civilization. But to a community of people, still literally living in conjecture with wild animals it is a key to survival. Thanks to the advance in current technologies, it is possible to provide such solutions in a sustainable manner at a reasonable cost.