Pradeep Pattanayak

A woman Sarpanch lost her post for not being able to read or write Odia. The incident was reported from Bayangdihi Panchayat under Dhamnagar block in Bhadrak district.  

As per reports, Kuntala Mallick was elected Sarpanch by defeating her rival candidate Bharati Behera in the last Panchayat election. 

Thereafter, Bharati moved Dhamnagar court against Kuntala citing the latter is not able to read or write Odia. Hearing the case, the court directed the district Collector to invalidate the Sarpanch post.

Even though Kuntala appealed before the High Court challenging the lower court’s direction, she could not prove herself to be literate in Odia. 

Acting on Bhadrak Sub Collector Monaj Patra’s letter, Naib Sarpanch Pradeep Kumar Barik took up the charge as the Sarpanch of Bayangdihi Panchayat. The PEO administered the oath to him. 

Even after that, Kuntala did not leave her post. 

Eventually, following the direction of the Sub Collector, Dhamnagar BDO pasted a notice in front of her residence and handed over the responsibility of the Sarpanch to Pradeep. 

When contacted, Kuntala refused to comment on the issue. 

“Following the direction of the Sub Collector, I am discharging the duties of Sarpanch. The previous Sarpanch lacks education qualification,” said Barik.  

“As per the guidelines, a Sarpanch candidate should be literate and S/he should be able to read and write Odia. But the elected woman Sarpanch can neither read nor write Odia. She had submitted a false affidavit,” said Ananta Kumar Behera, a relative of Bharati Behera.

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  • Partha Sarathi nayak

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