Once she was a people’s representative and was even elected as a block chairperson. She used to look after people’s problems in the 90s, but she is now wallowing in hardship and poverty. To eke out her living, she migrated to Tamil Nadu, where she is now working in a cotton mill.
People of Dhankauda block in Sambalpur were well familiar with Kanti Kumbhar, former chairman of the block. Kanti, now having fallen on bad days, is trying to forget her old days. OTV got to know of her roller-coaster life. She has returned from Tamil Nadu recently.
Kanti, with eyes welled up in tears, recalled her old days, saying, “It was in 1997 when I was 19, I plunged into politics. People used to know me, but anyone hardly recognises me now.”
Twenty Six years ago, she was elected as a samiti member from Kalamati panchayat and later elected as block chairperson of Dhankauda block with dreams of serving people. As the block chairperson, she had also addressed the problems of many people in her area, but she is now left in the vortex of her woes.
In 2000, she was married and had a happy conjugal life along with her husband and two kids for four years. However, her term as bock chairperson ended in 2002. To make things worse, bitterness with her husband took a toll on her conjugal life which turned topsy-turvy in 2004.
Later, she along with her two kids left her husband to stay at her mother’s house at Budiapada in Sambalpur. Initially, she did odd jobs in the locality before migrating to Tamil Nadu to sustain her family, she added.
“During my tenure, Anganwadi centres and schools have been set up. Elderly persons have been chosen as pension beneficiaries. I helped many in my life. But no one is there to help me out,” she rued, adding that if she had amassed wealth illegally, she would not have been a migrant labourer.
She also said, “If an alternative livelihood source is available in the locality, she will not go to Tamil Nadu,”