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12th March 2024 (9 Topics)

A tribe in the Western Ghats in need of a lifeline


The plight of forest-dwelling tribes in Karnataka's Western Ghats, exemplified by Makuta village, has brought attention to the challenges faced by marginalized communities in securing livelihoods and addressing emerging social issues. Despite recent land rights acquisition under the Forest Rights Act, tribal communities like the Phani Yerava tribe continue to grapple with changing livelihood patterns and the prevalence of alcohol addiction, highlighting the need for targeted interventions and support from policymakers.

Struggles for Livelihood:

  • Ancestral Land Rights: The Phani Yerava tribe in Makuta village secured land rights under the Forest Rights Act, asserting their ancestral claims to forest land spanning generations.
  • Declining Dependence on Forest Resources: Despite land rights acquisition, the tribe's reliance on forest resources has diminished over time due to changing market dynamics and exploitation by middlemen.
  • Shift to Wage Labor: Many tribe members now opt for wage labor, preferring to work as daily laborers in neighboring states like Kerala, where employment opportunities offer better returns than collecting minor forest produce.

Emerging Social Challenges:

  • Prevalence of Alcohol Addiction: Makuta village and surrounding areas face the scourge of alcohol addiction, affecting community well-being and hindering children's education.
  • Lack of Awareness and Support: Despite the severity of social issues like substance abuse, forest-dwelling communities often receive inadequate attention and support from policymakers.
  • Call for Government Intervention: Local leaders and activists advocate for greater government intervention and targeted support to address emerging social challenges and enhance the well-being of marginalized tribal communities.
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