Patras Malto, Bishnu Birhor, Balram Dalei, Jyoti Kumari and Dilip Grihi in Jamshedpur on Tuesday. (Bhola Prasad)
Balram Dalei of Kerandih village in Gorpur panchayat of Dumka sold two of his farmer father’s oxen to complete his plus two studies from Santhal Pargana Maha Vidyalaya in 2010. Eldest amongst four siblings (three brothers and a sister), the tribal lad spent his childhood and adolescence in a hovel in their nondescript village that had no water, electricity or roads. A natural spring was the only lifeline. Today, the 20-year-old earns Rs 4,500 a month as stipend during on-job training as a machinist at Tata Growth Shop
Bishnu Birhor, a native of Tatiba in West Singhbhum’s Saranda and a member of the endangered primitive tribe, remembers how he had to clamber up trees to escape marauding herds of elephants in their village that again had no basic amenities. He was fortunately selected for admission to a school run by Bharat Sevashram Sangha and completed his matriculation with 65 per cent in 2009. Today, the 18-year-old earns Rs 5,000 a month as a machinist at Tata Motors
Jamshedpur, April 3: Balram and Bishnu are not beneficiaries of a sudden windfall. They and some four dozen like them are nurturing a better future, thanks to the state welfare department that sponsored a two-year machinist course at Indo-Danish Tool Room (IDTR) for youths from primitive tribes.
The first batch of 45 students, who completed their studies yesterday, received certificates of merit at a function on IDTR’s Adityapur campus today. State transport and tribal welfare minister Champai Soren attended the programme.
“It is the only such course for primitive tribes anywhere in the state. These students can now get jobs as machinists in industrial units across the country with salary no less than Rs 6,000 a month,” said senior manager of IDTR and nodal officer of the machine and tool operation course Ashutosh Kumar.
Selection to the course is made through a list prepared by deputy commissioners of districts that have primitive tribes. The welfare department then sieves a maximum of 50 students on the basis of marks at matriculate and intermediate examinations.
Kumar said last month, all these 45 youths began their year-long on-job training at reputable companies such as Tata Motors, Tata Growth Shop (also a Tata Group company), RSB International, Multitech, Highco Engineering Private Limited, SKF, Automat and Danouli.
Senior manager (training) at IDTR Ratan Dasgupta said after this mandatory apprenticeship, the youths would bag employment as CNC operator, turner, miller and machine operator. “These are specialised vocations and there is always demand for skilled labour in these jobs, be it in the state or across the country. In most cases, companies where they train, absorb them after a year,” he added.
Patras Malto, a native of Salgama Chander village in Godda district, said he considered himself lucky to have been shortlisted for the course.
“I had to skip meals to pay for my intermediate studies in pure science,” the youth said. In 2010, Patras cleared his exam with 33.7 per cent, which paved the way for admission to the IDTR course and subsequently training at Tata Growth Shop. “My stipend is helping me inch closer towards my dream. I wish to own a tool room (read machinist shop) in Jamshedpur or Ranchi and use the money I earn to provide basic amenities to my people back in Godda,” the 21-year-old added.
Jyoti Kumari Dehri (22), eldest daughter of a farmer in Dumka’s Kasai Pahari village, was equally noble in her ambitions. “My father, who earns Rs 2,000-3,000 a month, could not afford my higher education. I cleared matriculation with 46 per cent in 2006, but had to discontinue studies after that. Today, I am earning a stipend of Rs 4,000 a month as a trainee machinist with Precision Corp Private Limited. My first duty will be to help my younger siblings complete their education,” she said.