THE D.B.K RAILWAY PROJECT AND THE TRIBALS OF ARAKU VALLEY
TCR&TI Andhra Pradesh
DBK Railway Project Social and Cultural Life Cultural Change
Monitoring & Evaluation
Department of Tribal Welfare Government of Andhra Pradesh
The new developments in transportation have doubled the cultural and social ties which are characteristic of modern life. The D.B.K Railway Project construction work was undertaken for about five years (1962-67) bringing the tribals into contact with a cross section of the Indian population hailing from different parts of the country. This temporary contact, however short it may be, resulted in the acquisition of certain new values and tastes by the tribals of the region. The project area in Araku agency is the natural habitat of as many as 19 tribal groups belonging to different linguistic families and varying levels of social, economic, and cultural development. The social, economic and cultural life of the Araku agency tribals is ripe for transformation because of the activities of plains immigrants, Government administrative machinery and the implementation of various development programmes under the Five-Year Plans. The construction of D.B.K. Railway, facilitating the introduction of the fastest vehicle of culture change that has ever traversed these areas. The selection of the village is done on purposive sampling basis. Of the ten villages studied, seven villages are situated very near the railway project and remaining far away. The selection of informants is based on simple random sampling. The data are collected by canvassing questionnaire, case studies, non-participated observation and both informal and formal interview were also employed. The study reveals that the introduction of community development programme about five years earlier than the D.B.K Railway opened a new chapter in the lives of these tribal groups. The Railway project initially slightly upset the existing social system resulting in cases of violation of tribe endogamy and family disorganization. Besides these cases of breaking of traditional norms, certain vices of the advanced groups like gambling, prostitution, cheating and pick pocketing etc., have also made their appearance for the first time among the tribes after the inception of the Railway project in Araku Valley. The most noticeable impact was on the secondary subsidiary occupation 75.52% of the samples having labour in this railway project. The tribals seem to be psychologically satisfied with the beneficial role of Railway project in their economic life as 63.69% of the sample workers stated that their present economic position is better than the previous position. Further, the Railway Station scan provide employment to tribals as porters and gangmen for the maintenance of the railway line. There is urgent need for building up social and economic infra-structure of the area with a view to prepare the tribals to become active participants of the future development and develop the necessary skills and capabilities so as to reap the advantages of these project. The report suggested to important technical education to the tribals so that the transformation from the agricultural economy which is the basis of their subsistence to an industrial or technical economy towards which the tribals are showing greater orientation, becomes easy. The report also suggested enforcement of constitutional safeguards in the area so that the tribal are given special attention and special privileges.