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Sharmili Mallick

With the dawn, people used to gather outside the houses of Nirashi Sendha, former block chairman of Dhanakauda in Sambalpur district and Sukanti Singh, former corporator of Ward No-48 under Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) with their several requests and the two were prompt enough to address their issues.

However, things have turned upside down for the two people’s representatives and they are even struggling to arrange two square meals a day. 

Nirashi was the chairman of Dhanakauda block from 2002 to 2007 and helped many people in getting pucca houses and other benefits under various government schemes.

But now after the end of her tenure, she has been staying in a house that is in dire need of repair. Elderly Nirashi lost her husband and then her only son within a few years recently and was left alone with the responsibility of her daughter-in-law and granddaughter.

“I have domesticated goats and run my family by binding brooms and selling them. During my tenure as block chairman, I maintained a cordial relationship with people and never got into fights,” said Nirashi. 

Nirashi ‘s daughter-in-law, Lakshmi Sendha alleged, “My father-in-law passed away some years ago while my husband died six months back. We have been suffering to run the family and not getting any government pension. I had applied for pension six months back but yet to get money. We are getting 15 kilograms of rice but it is difficult to manage a three-member family with the ration.”

Similarly, Sukanti Singh, the former corporator of Ward No-48 under CMC managed to bring government funds for the construction of roads, schools and other welfare projects in her locality.

However, now she has been working as a daily wage labourer and forced to stay in a dilapidated tin shed.
“Politicians had come during election campaigns and promised me to help by sanctioning funds for the construction of a pucca house but my condition remains the same. People till date visit me with their complaints. I hear them but cannot help them as I don’t have the power anymore,” alleged Singh. 

Alekh Mohanty, a local resident said, “Many people were benefited when she was the corporator but nothing could be done for her. She does not even have a land to build a house and works as daily wage labourer to earn a livelihood.”

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