STANDARD OF LIVING OF ADIVASI POPULATION.
A large part of the district is covered with
thick forests where the Proportion of Adivasi population is. quite
high. Among scheduled districts in. Maharashtra, Chandrapur
district ranks fourth in regard to the percentage of Adivasi
population to that of total population of the district.
The total tribal population in the district numbered 183,431 or
14.82 per cent according to 1961 Census. Of the 13 tribes in the
district Gond, Pardhan, Halba and Kawar are the principal ones.
About these tribes the District Census Handbook of Chanda, 1961
states as follows : -
"Gond with 166,266 persons
is the most predominant Scheduled Tribe in the district. Pardhan
with 7,145 persons, Halba with 4,737 persons, Kawar with 2,812
persons and Kolam with 1,516 persons are the other four major
Scheduled Tribes. The remaining eight scheduled tribes, together
have a population of 517 persons only.
Scheduled Tribes are concentrated more in Sironcha taluka where
they form 54.26 per cent of the total population. The
corresponding proportions for Gadhchiroli and Rajura talukas are
35.94 per cent and 27.43 per cent, respectively. A part of the
district has also been notified a schedule area. "
Though the living conditions of the Adivasis have improved recently
quite a few among them eke out a substandard existence. Most of
them follow agriculture as their principal occupation. During the
off season they find employment in forestry which supplements their
income from agriculture. The labour participation rate is higher
among them than that in the general population of the district.
Their staple food is rice but in the thick forest area like
Sironcha many of the Adivasis eat fruits, roots and the leaves of
the trees. Most of them are non-vegetarians because of the
availability of wild animals for hunting. They mostly spend their
income on the purchase of foodgrains only. Their proximity to
nature keeps their requirement of clothing to minimum. Their
traditional dress is a langati and dhoti and in some cases a piece
of cloth wrapped around the waist. However, the younger among them
are taking to new modes of dress. Their women adorn their necks
with handsome strings of heads and their arms sometimes with metal
and glass bangles. Married women wear a lugade (sari) of strong
cloth usually white with the border having a coloured strip. The
majority of the Adivasis have been settled permanently in the
forest area. The Adivasi dwelling is a typical hutment made of
strong bamboos with wooden pillars in the four corners and the
inner part of the walls made of karvi plastered with clay and
dung. The dwelling is usually surrounded by strong wattle fence
wherein the cattle-shed is also constructed.
Formerly the adivasi area was the most backward from the literacy
point of view. Poverty and apathy towards improvement did not
allow them to go in for education. Scheme for economically
Backward Classes sponsored by the Maharashtra Government has made
available manifold opportunities of education to them. The
starting of schools in the remote areas has brought education
within their reach.
The household utensils used
in the adivasi families comprised mostly earthenware. Only in rare
cases aluminium and brass utensils were used. Under the
development plans of the Government the material conditions of
these communities have been showing a marked change. Many special
schemes for the welfare of the scheduled tribes have been put into
operation and have made considerable progress. The important among
them is the creation of two Tribal Development Blocks functioning
at Yetapalli and Dewada, each with a combined allocation of Rs. 15
lakhs. Similar tribal development blocks have been proposed in