Ananya Padhihary

The people of Khejuri Village who have been shifted to Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R) colonies in Thakuramunda block of Mayurbhanj district during setting up of the Similipal National Park protected area, are facing severe hardships due to alleged government negligence and apathy.

110 indigenous families have been facing many problems since the past two years after they were evicted by the Forest Department to make way for the Similipal National Park. Although the families have reportedly got alternative accommodation in Saleibada in Thakurmunda Block, they are still living without any access to potable water, electricity, sanitation and communicable roads despite the availability of several government schemes to provide basic amenities to these needy and internally displaced people. 

Some of them are living in houses with leaking and shattered roof. While many of them are unable to find work for them, many families are unable to manage household chores with the interest gained on the Rs 10Lakh compensation they reportedly received two years back during the displacement.

Sumi Dehuri, a displaced person alleged the authorities shifted them to the R&R colony without creating basic facilities. “The government promised to meet our basic needs, such as food and clothing. We shifted because we believed in their promises. However, we have received nothing for the past two years,” she said.
Expressing his anguish, another displaced villager, Sambhu Dehuri, said, “Electricity, water, and interconnected roads were promised by the government. However, nothing has yet been accomplished. The amount of interest we received from the compensation is less than what was promised. With that money, it's quite difficult to get by.”

The list of grievances goes on, as Bina Dehuri continues, “There isn't much work for us. We have been unable to find work because there has been no development in this area."

Meanwhile,the Ranger of Karanjia Forest Range, D.N. Sai Kiran, said, “I have already taken up the matter with the authorities concerned. Basic amenities will be extended to the area soon.”