Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Though the Odisha government is rolling out many schemes, poor and needy beneficiaries seem to be getting the least amount of benefits out of those. Even people in many parts of the State are allegedly suffering like anything sans basic amenities like proper road connectivity, drinking water facilities and many other problems. However, with the 2024 General Elections round the corner, they have decided to write their own fortunes by boycotting the polling process. 

Take the case of Bapuji Leprosy Colony at Jatni on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar. People in the area have been going through ordeals for several years without having proper roofs above their heads. They are taking shelter in polythene covered thatched houses. Though they have been living in the area for several years, they are allegedly yet to get land records of rights from the government. The State government seems to have finished its duty by putting up only a board under Jaga Mission Scheme in the area.

More than 300 people reside in the colony. They have alleged that leaders of various political parties give them false assurances of providing land pattas only during the time of election. Under the circumstances, the residents of the colony have decided to boycott the upcoming elections.

“More than 300 people have been living in the colony for several years now. However, we are yet to get land pattas under Jaga Mission Scheme. Hence, we have decided to boycott the upcoming election. We will not allow entry of any political leaders to our area,” said Bapi Nayak, a resident of Bapuji Leprosy Colony.

“The administration is not paying any attention towards our ordeal despite many pleas. Though they have put up a board of Jaga Mission in our area, nothing has been done under the scheme to benefit the people. As a result, we have been living in dilapidated thatched houses for more than 50 years. We will not exercise our franchise in the forthcoming election,” said Manguli Das, another resident of the colony.

Meanwhile, Jatni Municipality authorities have said that it is not possible to provide land pattas to the residents of the colony as Indian Railways is the owner of the land.

“We have conducted a survey under Jaga Mission. However, it will not be possible to provide the land rights as the area comes under the ownership of Indian Railways. We will take proper steps in this regard after getting written complaints from the residents of the colony,” said Executive Officer of Jatni Municipality, Suryamani Pattahoshi.

Similarly, residents of Baliganda and Kamrakhali villages under Mohna block in Gajapati district have also expressed their resentment as are allegedly deprived of basic amenities like road connectivity, water supply and electricity connectivity. Local residents have alleged that they get many false assurances from the political leaders only during the time of election. However, all the assurances are forgotten as soon as the election is finished. The villagers have also decided to boycott the upcoming election.

“We don’t have basic amenities in our area and as a result, we are facing many difficulties. Even pregnant ladies are carried on cots sans proper road connectivity. We are living like aboriginal people in forest,” said Duita Karji, a resident of Baliganda village.

Villagers of Jhanjiriberena in Dhenkanal district have also decided to boycott the poll by bringing similar allegations. Expressing their resentment, they have put up a poster and made up their mind not to exercise their franchise.

“We don’t have any kind of basic facilities in our village. Though we have been casting votes for several years, the administration is not undertaking any kind of developmental activities in our area. So we have decided to refrain from the polling process this time,” said Gobardhan Pradhan, president of Jhanjiriberena village welfare committee.

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