Update from Siddamma

18 Mar 2006 Sanjeev Ranganathan
Siddamma was travelling to Cuddalore with Jignesh and his team of engineers who work on low costs housing with Action AID. They will be deciding the housing based on the initial survey done by Jignesh for local materials.

Livia, one of the volunteers from Germany had been working on a documentary about the Irulas since early Jan when we met her. This documentary is almost done. The documentary not only goes over the documented history of the Irulas, their tradition and customs, but also on where the Irulas are now and what they do. One of the specific reason to make the documentary was awareness for IAS officers (collectors) who change every few yrs and come with a fixed notion of who the Irulas. We will try to get a copy for Asha-Austin too.

Another 300 bounded laborers have received the community certificates and obtained their release letters. Here is an example of a release letter. Another 300 will be receiving it in the coming week. They are still in SK Nagar. They will be provided ration cards and the collector has agreed that the released bonded laborers will be covered under the BPL.

The paperwork for the rice mill proposal has been submitted to the government.

The school for the children is continuing as before. We have not started any construction for a permanent structure.

The effort is on to look for suitable unused government land of 1 acre per family as per the scheme. The work on economical development is ongoing, working with Namalwar on production of organic vegetable with the people who loaned land.

The govt commitment to provide houses is now taking shape and the govt has allocated Rs. 32,000 for a house per family. Jignesh and his team have been looking at it and think it will fall short of the requirements of a good accomodation and will look into it.

At the resource center, the sugar cane has finally been cut and land has been cleared. Received the first fruits of labor with 50 kg dal. Much of the crop was affected by the heavy rains that flooded TN in Nov.

We will be starting work on the surveys soon.