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Events of Social Touch

Phase I Fact Finding Mission: A Team of researchers From ASIET visited the adivasi colonies at Kunchipara,Mukalinkudi and Warriam.The colcnies are located in a forest area of great bio diversity.Kuttampuzha is a rural area situated about 25 Km from Kothamangalam.From kuttampuzha kunchipara is at a distance of around 10 Kms.To reach Kunchipara you have to cross the Pooyamkutty river at Blavana using a fery and then travel 15 Kms through the forest.

Ferry at Blavana-The first hurdle in reaching Kunchipara
Bamboo huts - about to collapse
The tributary is approximately 50 metres wide and the crossing is very near a raging waterfall. Whenever the Pooyamkutty river is in spate the people of Kunchipara find it difficult to get to the village for provisions and even for medicine. Around two kilometres from Kunchipara is Mukalinkudi. From there you have to pass through an area having huge rocks that were amazingly and beautifully arranged by nature called Anamukham. Around Warriam there are various other small adivasi colonies including Kuriyampetty, Mappilaparakudi and Maruthapara colonies.
KUNCHIPARA COLONY: Kunchipara is a Muthuvan colony. There are totally 70 families in the area with a combined population of about 300 people. The colony is situated in 50 hectares of land which is part of the 2000 hectares forest land under the Vana Samrakshana Samithy(VSS). The houses are mainly made of bamboo and is very primitive and unsafe. The families are left to the vagaries of nature and there are cases of houses either collapsing or being blown away. Only three of the houses have pucca structure. The other structure which seemed fairly strong is the school house.

Range - Kuttampuzha
Station - Pooyamkutty
Division - Malayattoor

Number of adults--- 156
Number of children- 144
Number of women -- 80
Number of men -------76
Number of families--- 70

Researchers with the Kanikkaran and Kanikkarathi Earnings throuh bamboo mats  
WARRIAM COLONY: Warriam is a colony which has both Muthuvan and Mannan tribes. Mannans are more hardworking and advanced than Muthuvans. They generally send their children to school. There are over 400 people in the colony of which around one third are children. The houses as in Kunchipara are mainly made of bamboo and are very primitive and unsafe. Only some of the houses have pucca structure. Toilet facilities are virtually non existent. Electricity is not available and the lights in a few of the houses are lit with solar energy.
Number of adults ---427
Number of women - 150
Number of men - ----142
Number of children- 135
Moopan – Manjappan
Moopathi - Sundari
Rocks at Aanamukham Chavadi where the male kids leave till they get married  
Agricultural operation: They grow Arecanuts, Coffee, paddy and spices in the area under their control.
Education facilities: There is a school in Warriam and the teacher lives there itself.
Educational status : Many are going to nursery school because they get free lunch there. Generally children of the Mannan tribe attend school more than Muthuvans.
Health care facilities: The sick are first given herbal medicines and if that doesn’t work are carried to the nearest hospital which is kilometres away, sometimes even in Tamil Nadu.
Potable water: It is got from the mountain top using black hose.


Phase II Participatory Action Programme:

1.Alternative uses of bamboo: Can look at alternative uses of bamboo than just creation of mats where value-addition is minimal. Handicrafts using not only bamboos but also unique products made from different natural items like eco-friendly disposable plates and containers from arecanut palm fronds. Can even look at the feasibility of setting up a bamboo board 2.Cascade training:Planned to set up a centralized training facility to the representatives of the village.They train others 3.Hygiene and sanitation: Provision of basic toilet facilities and also aware the difficulties of contaminated diseases 4.Provision of health care facilities: Try to motivate the concerned authorities to open a primary health center. Train the women folk to undertake basic first aid and midwifery.
5. Literacy programme: Feasibility of starting a primary school to be seriously considered. At least get organizations like NSS (unit of ASIET) or even NGOs to conduct adult education classes
6.Group financing activities: Get the villagers to pool money to form a thrift fund. Money can be used in setting up of pucca houses also. Potable water, Warriam style. Mooppan Manjappan off to work in the fields
7.Empowerment of women through self-help groups: Provide special assistance to women to form self help groups and provide them proper training to start different commercial ventures
8.Marketing products: A center will be set up at ASIET to plan and help implement the marketing of their products and ensure they get proper value for their products. Market study will be conducted, strategy formulated and hands-on help may be provided to the Adivasis
9.Bridge: Whenever the Pooyamkutti river is in spate they find it difficult to get to the village for provisions and even for medicine. According to an estimate taken the bridge would take around RS.10 lakhs to build. There are two more small ivulets which require bridges, though they don’t pose as much of a problem now.
10.Reducing the cultural divide: In order to create in the people an awareness as to what is happening in the outside world so that they won’t be exploited check out the possibility of having provision for FM radio or Dish TV or World Space.
11. Ecotourism: The possibility of eco tourism in this area can be thought of. Or even participative tourism, where foreign tourists can come and stay with the adivasis on a home stay basis.There is a very beautiful waterfall on Kallelimukkam river near Kallelimedu which is 700 metres deep and rivals Athirappilly waterfall.







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