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AP’s migrants to Andaman help rebuild their villages back home

It’s been more than 60 years since they migrated to Andaman and Nicobar Islands, but these labourers from Srikakulam’s Uddanam region haven’t lost any love for their native villages. They aren’t rich, but manage to pool in money to develop their hometowns and help the poor.

Organised as the Andaman Society, these labourers, who work on fishing boats and construction projects, have built temples and entrance arches for villages, spruced up schools, and even help the poor pay their medical bills. Most of them hail from Kaviti, Sompeta and Vajrapukotturu mandals.

“About 500 fishermen have migrated to Andaman and Nicobar Islands from Nadumuru village alone,’’ village head Tarra Sekhesh said, adding that several fishermen leave for the islands every year. The village heads draw up estimates and send them to the Andaman Society, seeking financial aid for projects, he explained. The society then discusses the proposal, and if approved, the money is transferred.

They have sent about Rs.15 lakh for the construction of temples in the village, and contribute at least Rs. 5 lakh for festivals of village deities, said village head Ganta Sanyasi, adding that based on written requests, they send Rs. 20,000 for medical treatment of poor patients. After a person’s death, they contribute Rs. 10,000 for the cremation within just one-and-a-half hours, he said. They have contributed benches, chairs and computers to government schools, said Nadumuru Zilla Parishad High School teacher Sahukari Rajani.

“This practice (of contributing funds) has been going on for 30 years. Our ancestors started it after they migrated to Andaman and Nicobar Islands,” said Mailapalli Shyam Sundar, secretary of the Nadumuru Andaman Society in Port Blair.