Pradeep Pattanayak

With just a few days left for the Padampur by-election, issues like farmers’ problems, district status to Padampur and acute migration problems are taking centre stage in the campaign. 

Annual mass exodus after Nuakhai, an agrarian festival, is common in Padampur Assembly constituency. Thousands of people migrate through middle men and are subjected to physical and mental torture there at workplaces. 

Political parties have been contesting elections on this issue but none of them has allegedly ever tried to put an end to it for good, by providing them with a permanent earning source. 

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has alleged that the government has completely failed in providing jobs to the people in Padampur sub-division. 

“Besides being a drought area, it is also devoid of irrigation facilities. People are also not getting jobs. The government has been forcing them to become migrant labourers,” said BJP leader Mukesh Mahananda. 

Congress leader Nihar Mahananda alleged, “If the people of this area are migrating, this is because the area has continuously been neglected. Especially the youths of this area have been neglected. This is why they are working in other states.”

However, the ruling BJD said the government has been taking steps to end the migration issue. 

“They have habitually been leaving the area to work at brick kilns or some other places signing contracts. But there are alternatives and opportunities for them,” said senior BJD leader, Debi Prasad Mishra. 

When asked, the local residents too alleged that lack of work has made them migrant labourers. 

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“This year, three families have migrated in search of work. Their houses are locked. As there are no jobs for the people here, they are forced to leave the place, taking their children along with them,” said Kandarpa Gochha, a resident of Motipali area.

(Reported by Sanjay Jena, OTV)