In a first-of-its-kind initiative, members of a tribal community from Tamil Nadu made profits amounting to a few lakhs after obtaining rights to cultivate cashew in the Andimadam range. The group comprising 80 members of the Irula tribe, residing in the Ariyalur district, reportedly made a profit of Rs 3.5 lakh after expenses by harvesting cashew nuts. They were aided by the District Collector of Ariyalur P Ramana Saraswathi, the Forest Plantation Corporation Limited (TAFCORN) -- a Public Sector Undertaking, and the Department of Tamil Nadu Tribal Welfare. Upon obtaining the rights, the members of the tribal community harvested about 7,600 kg of cashew nuts and sold them for about Rs 9.70 lakh, approximately. According to a report in the Hindu, the tribals, led by C Dharmadurai of Koovagam, had approached TAFCORN in 2013 seeking the rights of maintenance of a cashew plantation unit in Andimadam and harvest it. However, the community did not have money to pay the Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) of about Rs 4.5 lakh to participate in the open auction. After approaching various officials, seeking exemption from the auction as well as paying EMD to secure the rights, the AD Welfare Department sanctioned Rs 5 lakh to them as a special fund. RELATED STORIES As OPS cozies up to Dhinakaran, latter says 'Two Leaves' must to win polls EWS Reservation | Why MK Stalin and Pinarayi Vijayan are not on the same page The board of directors of TAFCORN, which included Supriya Sahu -- Secretary, Environment, Climate Change and Forests; and Yogesh Singh --Managing Director, TAFCON, passed a resolution removing the particular plantation unit from the open online auction list to pass on the rights to the members of the Irula community. They also helped the members of the Irula tribe by providing around Rs 1 lakh to buy pesticides and put up fences. "It was truly inspiring to know the success story. It is a model of empowering tribes. It was made possible due to a fabulous collaborative work of various offices including Collector, MD, TAFCORN and the Department of Tribal Welfare," Supriya Sahu said on Twitter.