Tuesday, September 4, 2007

People continue to suffer in tribal areas

The Pioneer, Sep 4, 2007
Pioneer News Service | Bhubaneswar

... despite Rs 250 cr being spent in Kashipur, Rs 1,300 cr in KBK in last 20 years
A whopping Rs 250 crore has been spent over a period of 20 years in the tribals-dominated block of Kashipur in Rayagada district. But nothing has been changed. People continue to become victims of the wrath of the nature.

The outbreak of cholera has not happened this year only which already claimed 178 lives in the tribal-dominated area of KBK so far. As many as 52 people alone from Kashipur block became victims of this killer disease.

Earlier, it had taken away the lives of hundreds. The first cholera outbreak reportedly occurred in the recent history way back in 1987 in the Kashipur block. More than 200 people died of cholera at that time. They all died just because they were unable to get the proper food stuff and safe drinking water. All were the victims of adulterated foods and polluted water.

The tragic incident at that time compelled the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to made a whirlwind tour to Kashipur. His tour opened the floodgate of financial assistance for the development of Kashipur and other backward regions of the KBK areas.

Later, the Centre gave an assistance of Rs 10 crore for the development of Kashipur. Under the International Far-mer's Development Fund, Rs 106 crore was released for the overall development of Kashi-pur. A new scheme Orissa Tribal Development Project was initiated for this purpose.

Official sources said, in 1995, Rs 12 crore was provided under the special assistance scheme of the UNICEF. In 1998 watershed mission programme was initiated with the assistance from Germany in 1998. A programme was initiated under the banner TDH with an assistance of Rs 15 crore.

Under the much-hyped KBK and Biju KBK scheme, Rs 40 crore has already been spent over the years. But noting has been changed. People have not yet get the minimum needs to fulfil their requirements. In the last five years, many programmes under Pradhan Mantri Grama Sadak Yojana, National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGP), many works have been taken up. But it has not been able to change the lives of the people of Kashipur.

Kashipur boasts of 1.35 lakh population. Out of it, 62.50 per cent belongs to tribal and 19.94 per cent belongs to SC categories. The Kashipur block comprises 20 panchayats and 498 villages.

Out of the 1014 tubewells in the blocks 550 tubewells have been lying defunct over the last several years. This has compelled the tribals to fetch water from the nearby rivulets. The block has only one community health centre and five primary health centres. The sanctioned strength of doctors for these hospitals is 12. But only two doctors are working in the areas on a permanent basis.

Official sources said, the block officials have not been able to reach 70 per cent of the remotest part of this block. Sources further said that most of the rice under several scheme never reaches to the beneficiaries but later it reaches to the rice-miller for the recycling purposes.

Planning and Co-ordination Minister Padmanava Behera said, "Certain development has been made in the KBK areas. But more things have to be done particularly in the field of creating public awareness."

He further informed that Rs 1300 crore has already been spent for the overall development of KBK areas.

Official sources claimed as most of the NGOs working in these areas stress on the welfare of their organisations, people continue to suffer. Similarly is the case of the Government officials working in KBK areas. Vigilance officials maintained that the officials working in KBK areas , try to siphoned off the money as much as they can from different Government programmes implementing in the area.

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