India CSR News Network
BHUBANESWAR, Odisha: The demand for development from one of the poorest areas in the state of Odisha is gaining momentum. Fed up with malnutrition, malaria and Maoist menace, villagers and tribals form Kalahandi and Rayagada have poured in large numbers in the state capital with demands of development and employment. In a peaceful protest near the Governor House, the people raised their voice demanding basic facilities like health education, infrastructure and employment.
The protestors were vocal about their right to development. The people have been greatly hurt by the absence of infrastructural setups in the area like roads and irrigational structures, absence of schools and hospitals in their villages which has led to much discontent and helplessness. With education and skill development literally nonexistent in their remote villages, the scope for employment remains bleak.
Years after taking an anti-industry stance, things have not improved much for them. They expressed strong opinions against the NGOs who have time and again discouraged them from seeking development in the region. “They have constantly led us to believe that industries are bad for us. We believed them for a long time but now, it has got us nowhere”, said Parmanand Majhi who is the President of Kalahandi SC/ST Development forum.
“We don’t have roads, hospitals, industries and with no schools, our children are losing job opportunities. Where are they when we need jobs? They have nothing to offer other than false promises”, said. Linga Majhi a resident of Rengopalli village near Lanjigarh.
Dr. Ajay Mishra, Convener of the Kalahandi Development forum said that, “The lure of anti-development NGO driven brigade, which has been dominant in the region, is slowly waning off. The villagers who have been living in fear, have mustered courage to speak out against it due to the efforts of the police in Rayagada and Kalahandi.”
It was evident from the demands of the people that they were disgruntled by their living conditions. They wanted to change the dominant narrative of poverty and backwardness in Kalahandi by demanding support from the government. It also indicated the pro-development stance that the tribals and villagers had subscribed to after seeing the opportunities that a local industry establishment can offer to the locals.