The Madurai district collector this week honored Kodikulam village panchayat with Rs 10 lakh for practicing social harmony. A check for the amount was handed over to the village Panchayat chairman, Vanitha. Collector Aneesh Shekhar also announced that development projects in the village will be a priority for the coming year.
In Tamil Nadu, every year since 2012, the Madurai district administration selects a village that does not adhere to untouchability and promotes religious and social friendship, and the panchayat is awarded Rs 10 lakh. According to the plan, there are about eight methods followed to select the village and a five-person committee headed by the District Collector operated.
Accordingly, the Adi Dravidar and tribal people in the village should have free access to the public temple, drinking water well, shops and hotels. The Adi Dravidar people should not be prohibited from drawing water from private wells. Other members of the village community should not refuse to rent houses to the Adi Dravidar people. People from all communities should join in the festivities, sit together and dine. Also, the Adi Dravidar people should be invited to participate in the festivals of other communities. All communities should live in harmony and peace. The principle of the abolition of untouchability should be politely respected by all the inhabitants of this village.
The district superintendent of police who oversees a village that complies with at least five of these rules makes recommendations to the committee headed by the collector, and including the project manager of the Rural Development Agency. Kodikulam Village in Usilampatti of Madurai District was nominated for this year and it was endorsed by District Collector Aneesh Shekhar.
At the reception, people proudly declared that the “two cup system” was abolished a hundred years ago in Kodikulam village. According to the system, when people from scheduled castes go to a tea shop, they are served in a separate cup. intended for Dalits and not the one used for higher caste people. This policy is still prevalent in many villages in Tamil Nadu. Kodikulam village is inhabited by 15 communities and all people have been living in harmony for a long time by following the required steps. to eradicate untouchability, locals say.
District Collector Aneesh Shekhar while addressing the function said, “This award is given to the people for their solidarity and their aim is to continue to focus on eliminating untouchability. With this award, the people of Kodikulam have set a benchmark for others to follow.”
He also announced that 100 women in the village will be granted a special loan of Rs. 20,000 each through women’s self-help groups and will issue checks to the beneficiaries. Further, he added that a report is being prepared on the basic amenities of Kodikulam village and the focus will be on rural development in the next year, and a separate award will be given. for making the place 100% plastic free. village, and a complete village for maintaining the water level in the next 12 months. He also suggested to the panchayat administration to use the prize money to build roads and construct Anganwadi in the village.
The people of Kodikulam also said that in their village no one is referred to by their caste name. “People from all communities in our village will come out in solidarity no matter who is in trouble. No one will tell anyone to stay away. We educated our future generations on the abolition of untouchability,” they said.
Echoing this, Panchayat Chairwoman Vanitha said, “We have no differences in caste or religion, thereby ensuring that all sections of the population have equal access to basic facilities, including education. and health care. We are pleased to receive the collector’s honor. With this sum, we plan to carry out works, in particular drinking water installations, road improvements and the renovation of school buildings,” she said.
In the presence of SP, RDO, DSP and Deputy Director (Panchayats), the Collector handed over the check to the Chairman of the Panchayat and then appealed to the people of Kodikulam village to keep up the goodwill which, he said, should be followed closely by other villagers as well, win prizes and improve the overall situation by raising awareness in areas with high caste differences and change the identity of Madurai.
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