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Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Khadia-Mankadia tribes in the Similipal sanctuary are a deprived lot. Despite spending crores of rupees for the upliftment of tribals from the government exchequer, the 20 odd families living in Budhigaon village under Mayurbhanj’s Karanjia block are far from receiving the benefits.

A look at the village and the dire condition the tribals are forced to live in the jungle, speak volumes of the State government's apathy.

From broken asbestos roof to soaking mud walls, the telling signs of years of government negligence could be easily witnessed.

As far as the other benefits like old age pension and free ration are concerned, the villagers alleged that no government official has ever turned up in their village to take a stock of their situation.

Government schemes are still a distant dream for them.

Shyamalendu Chandra Kumar Das, a local labour union leader said that the gloomy picture of development can be easily seen in the village.

"The government has been patting its own back by announcing crores of rupees for the development of Khadia-Mankadia tribals, but the reality is entirely different. If they have to live in such a condition, serious questions can be raised on the efficacy of the Awaas Yojana," Das alleged.

While it is alleged that public money meant for the development of tribals have been embezzled by the Babus (administrative officials) and political leaders, the local administration feigned ignorance of their plight.

Rajanaikant Biswal, Sub-Collector of Karanjia said, “I heard about the problems in the area through the media. I will take immediate steps and send officers to alleviate their plight.”

Union Minister of State for Scheduled Tribes, Bisweswar Tudu, who represents the same Parliamentary constituency, slammed the officials and said, “It is a general practice of the officers to not act. I have reprimanded them many times over the issue and tried to include the tribals in the livelihood missions, but in vain.”

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