Vellore: Hostels planned for forest schools

Meeting held to create awareness of District Forest Right Protection Act 2006 

PUDURNADU: The Forest Department has plans to provide hostel facility for 11 forest schools in Vellore district, A.V. Venkatachalam, District Conservator of Forest, said here on Tuesday.

He was participating at a meeting to create awareness of District Forest Right Protection Act 2006, organised by the Tamil Nadu Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Department. He said that at present, students coming from interior areas found it difficult to continue their education. A demand for the hostels was put forth by a section of tribals in the district.

Mr. Venkatachalam said that many of the forest schools faced shortage of teachers. Initially, the government had recommended appointing teachers who had registered with the employment exchange on seniority basis. But, the teachers who were appointed hesitated to work in tribal areas. A petition was submitted to Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and the government, in the month of September, issued an order stating that teachers need not be recruited on seniority basis through the employment exchange. The Forest Department could recruit teachers by placing advertisement and the only criteria considered would be qualification.

To get over the problem of shortage of teachers, the department had taken steps to recruit qualified tribal youth on temporary basis, Mr. Venkatachalam said.

Further, the department had spent Rs.5 crore on construction of additional school buildings and maintenance of existing schools during last year. Infrastructure in forest schools had been upgraded. As a step to enable tribal youth to become engineers and doctors, computer course had been introduced in the schools since last year, he said.

Referring to bad road condition in forest areas where the tribals lived, Mr. Venkatachalam said laying of new roads in forest areas was not an easy task as lot of formalities had to be completed.

A total of 117 km of road in the district come under the forest area. If a new road is laid in an area, it is mandatory to set up a Forest Department check-post. Lot of cost was involved in this and some of the areas could not be opened to the public. Some of the forest areas were in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh border and increased vigil has to be maintained to check the movement of naxalites.

Mr. Venkatachalam said that despite the situation, the Forest Department had sought permission for lying 14 new roads in forest areas of the district. The demand to expand 15 km of road from Tirupattur to Pudurnadu would be considered. Roads would also be laid from Pudurnadu to Nellivasalnadu. This would help the Transport Department to introduce bus service from Pudurnadu to Nellivasalnadu. Some of the roads that would be newly laid are from Ambur to Nayakaneri, Polur to Jamunamarathur and Amrithi to Jamunamarathur.

Earlier, Mr. Venkatachalam handed over a sum of Rs. one crore to the Animal Husbandry Department to purchase milch cows and goats to the Scheduled Tribes. He also requested the Pudurnadu tribals to understand the District Forest Right Protection Act-2006 and make best use of it.

Tirupattur Sub-Division Sub-Collector Nandhakumar, Pernambut MLA A. Chinnasamy, Councillor A.K. Arunachalam and Pudurnadu panchayat president K. Natarajan spoke. District Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Officer V.Swarnalatha welcomed the gathering.

From THE HINDU

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