Jeevitha’s mother who use to accompany her to the Tahsildar’s office and revenue divisional officer until recently died last month following a snake bite. Her father is a daily wager.
In her petition to the Collectorate and RDO offices, the young girl has referred to the identity of her paternal uncles who have migrated to Chennai and possess appropriate community certificates. But red tapism and bureaucratic hurdles stand in the way of the girl trying to get into college. “All my friends have started applying to colleges, but I am not able to complete the application process without the community certificate. I am already suffering mental trauma due to my mother’s demise and the delay in my college admission is adding to it,” Jeevitha told DT Next.
This young student is among several tribal children who are struggling for community certificates as their parents have not availed the benefits provided to them. “There are more than 100 tribal students awaiting community certificates in Tiruvannamalai district. The court has passed orders, the Collector has issued orders on providing community certificates but the bureaucracy is hesitant,” said E Kumar, general secretary, Adi Tribal Welfare Association.
When contacted, Chengam legislator MP Giri admitted that such issues were being reported from tribal pockets in his constituency. “I have already taken up the case with local revenue officials. A few have wrongly entered their family details during the previous notification period which got sorted out. The identification process of tribes is also over but tahsildars are refusing to issue certificates as it is a complicated procedure. I have already raised the matter in the Assembly and trying my best to help the tribes. Will ask revenue officials to clear the pending applications,” he said.
People who migrate out of their native villages return later seeking tribal certificates. But there are no digital records to verify nativity and any error in issuing a ST / SC certificate may affect the career of revenue officers and so it takes time to complete the process, a government official said.