Express News Service
CHENNAI: The tribal students in Chengalpet’s Pazhaveli village need not walk 7 km to their school anymore crossing a hill and a busy bypass road, thanks to Chief Minister MK Stalin, who took cognizance of a story published in these columns the previous day, and ordered Transport Minister RS Raja Kannappan to arrange bus services for them.
Express on July 14, published a story highlighting how the tribal children had to cover total 14 km between home and school, while their parents covered twice the distance to pick up and drop their wards. Hours after the story was published, the Chief Minister instructed the Transport Minister to begin bus services for the tribal hamlet immediately, according to a statement from the Metropolitan Transport Department.
“Based on the instructions, the State Transport Corporation (Villupuram) officials surveyed the route on Wednesday and began service from afternoon itself. The hamlet residents and students expressed their sincere thanks to the CM,” the statement said. The bus will operate once in morning to pick up students from home to school, and in the evening to drop them back home.
On hearing the news, tribal rights activists in the district, who have been demanding transport services for the hamlet for several years, expressed happiness over the CM personally issuing the order. M Azhagesan, Chengalpet District Secretary of the State Tribal Association, said, “We are happy to hear that the CM has seen the story and taken action. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the government.”
In another story, Express had also highlighted other issues in the hamlet, including non-issuance of pattas, lack of toilets and electricity connections. “Officials in the past few days have been surveying the area and they are taking steps now to provide the tribals land rights,” Azhagesan added.