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Gudalur tribal hamlet gets power

Tuesday was a red letter day for the 116 houses of Chambakolli tribal settlement in the Gudalur Forest in The Niligiris as they could enjoy the advantage of electricity for the first time in their lives.

Gudalur tribal hamlet gets power
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Representative Image

Coimbatore

Thanks to combined efforts of the Forest Department, Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) and the District Administration, five of those houses got electricity supply on Tuesday. Chambakolli is a part of Devarshola Panchayat. Most of the villagers are small scale farmers and labourers. 

“Electricity connection is a dream come true for our generation. We have been fighting for it for decades. The DMK government did not give us free televisions as we did not have electricity. Six years ago, the present government gave us hope along with the free mixers, grinders and fans,” said M Suresh (41), tribal of the hamlet belonging to Betta Kurumba community.

He recalled that they have been repeatedly petitioning the district administration, forest and TANGEDCO officials seeking electricity supply for decades but all efforts had gone in vain. 

A year and a half ago, the Devarshola Panchayat adopted a resolution in the Gram Sabha meeting and only then it was taken note by the forest officials. Conservator of Forests for Coimbatore Circle I Anwardeen visited the place and the forest department finally gave the ‘No Objection Certificate’ for extending power supply to the tribal settlement. 

People of the hamlet said that nearby tribal hamlets Machikolli and Baby Nagar that are just half a kilometre away from Chambakolli are also located in the forest but they had got power supply more than 15 years ago. 

“We had to wait for long. TANGEDCO erected 12 poles in our hamlet to draw electricity from the nearby ones,” said Suresh, whose house is one of the five houses that was given power supply on Tuesday. 

Villagers recalled that without proper electricity their children were forced to primarily depend on kerosene lamps and solar charged lights for studies. About 15 houses had televisions that used solar charged batteries. “We did not have time for entertainment programmes. We used television sets only to watch news to keep our children aware about the happenings around the world,” a villager said. District Collector P.Shankar said 92 of the 116 houses have paid the nominal deposit for power connection. 

“These houses are scattered and located in small groups. We are hopeful of electrifying the 92 houses in the next three months,” he added.

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