A day after TNIE report on tribal students dropping out of schools, Coimbatore administration acts

A customised battery-powered vehicle has been arranged to transport tribal students to school from their village
Students in a school classroom image for representational purpose only | (Pic:Express)
Students in a school classroom image for representational purpose only | (Pic:Express)

The Forest Department in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, with the support of NGOs, has arranged a customised battery-operated vehicle for tribal students at Old Sarkarpathi tribal settlement in Anamalai Tiger Reserve Forest near Pollachi. A day after TNIE carried news about an increasing number of students from the tribal settlements dropping out of school due to a lack of transportation facilities to Anamalai, the forest department has come up with the facility announcing that the customised vehicle would be operated from June 13 for the purpose of transport of students to schools and as an emergency service for the tribe in times of need. 

Speaking to TNIE, MG Ganesan, Deputy Director of ATR, said, "As many as 12 persons can travel in the customised battery-operated auto. It was the tribal people's long-standing demand as there is no public transportation facility in the village. In March, when members from two NGOs Aakriti and Martin Foundation come to my office to conduct a health-related camp for the tribe, I put forth the demand of an operated vehicle for taking up students to school. Soon they accepted and bore the cost of Rs 2.5 lakh to develop the customised vehicle for the purpose. If the battery was charged, it can be operated up to 60 km." 

"Students have a government elementary school at the settlement. For middle school, they have to travel for ten km to reach Anamalai since there is a drop out regularly due to lack of transportation. With the facility, the tribal students will reach school comfortably. Since it is a battery operated model, no fuel cost will be burnt," he said and added that on seeing the initiative, NGOs from Coimbatore have accepted to donate similar vehicle to four more tribal settlements such as Nagaruthu 1 and 2, Kozhikamuthi, Erumaparai. He thanked the District Collector GS Sameeran for his swift response of arranging four more customised vehicles for the four settlements.

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