The Motor Vehicles department (MVD) has launched a special scheme, called “Gothra Sewa”, to provide two-wheeler driving licences to tribal residents of Mankulam panchayat under Devikulam taluk in Idukki district after imparting free training to them.
According to officials, the project was implemented by the Sub-Regional Transport Office, Devikulam, in association with Mankulam panchayat. The project was initially implemented in Sevalkudi, Thalumkandam, Veliyampara, and Mangappara tribal settlements under the Mankulam panchayat on a trial basis.
Devikulam Motor Vehicle Inspector (MVI) Deepu N.K. said that the MVD found that many youth from the tribal community were riding two-wheelers without proper documents.
“It was found that the tribespeople were spending a large chunk of their earnings on transportation by jeep taxis. We decided to implement the Gothra Sewa programme to provide them driving licences so that they can be self-sufficient,” Mr Deepu said.
“The project was implemented with the support of Idukki Regional Transport Officer (RTO) R. Ramanan and Deputy Transport Commissioner Shaji Madhavan. Francis S. (MVI), Favas V. Salim and Abin Issac (Assistant MVIs), officials Pradeep Kumar K.P., Haritha K. and Rajesh Rajappan led the Gothra Sewa project,” said the official.
According to officials, MVD personnel volunteered to work overtime for three days a week to conduct classes on taking learners’ test on computer in Sevalkudi. They offered theory classes on driving as well. The driving classes and licences were provided free of cost to the tribespeople. The funds required for implementation of the project was found through sponsorship.
“In the first phase, 32 candidates, including two women, completed the practical lessons at Sevalkudi settlement. Of them, 29 candidates appeared for the driving test and 24 cleared it. Later, four more candidates cleared the retest,” he said.
Based on the success of the first initiative, the MVD officials have decided to launch the second phase of Gothra Sewa initiative in another tribal settlement under the Devikulam Sub-RTO. “We plan to implement the project at the first tribal panchayat in Edamalakudy. We already received over 30 applications from the tribals in Edamalakkudy,” he said. “In the third phase, the project would be implemented in Marayur panchayat. The project named “Kanavu” aims at the empowerment of women. The project is only for tribal woman,” said Mr. Deepu.