Pradeep Pattanayak

If you visit Burupuda panchayat of Hinjili block in Ganjam district, you will be surprised to find many houses locked and many have only women and elderly family members. 

Where have the young male members gone? More than 200 people from this panchayat have migrated to other states to keep the pots boiling at their houses. 

You will again be surprised to know that the panchayat is under the Hinjili Assembly constituency, which has been represented by none other than Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for 24 long years. 

Not only Burupada but also all the panchayats under this constituency have the same pathetic tale of migration to share. 

The residents of the constituency never shy away from alleging that the constituency has not developed as it should have been, considering the Chief Minister representing it for such a long period. 

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“Leaving their parents alone, young people of our village have migrated to other states in search of work. If the Chief Minister had set up factories or industries here during his long rule, our children wouldn’t have migrated,” rued an elderly resident of Hinjili constituency.
This time, besides Hinjili, the Chief Minister is going to contest from Kantabanji as well. 

This has elated the party leaders and workers. But the people of the constituency, who are living with no end to their plight are indifferent. 

The fate of Katarlaga village of Ichhapada panchayat under Kantabanji constituency’s Muribahal block is no different from that of  Burupuda panchayat under Hinjili constituency. 

The total number of voters in the village is 450. But it is presently being inhabited by around 100. Over 350 voters have migrated to other states to feed the empty stomachs back in the village. If all the villages are taken into consideration, around 50,000 voters have migrated from the Kantabanji Assembly constituency and sweating it out at brick kilns in other states to feed empty stomachs back in their homes.  

The residents of the constituency are not sure if the Chief Minister’s representation from their area would bring in any changes for good. 

“The Chief Minister has neither paid heed to our problems nor done anything for us. What change would take place if he is fighting elections from here? He has chosen our area only to do politics and nothing else,” said Kasta Suna, an elderly resident of Kataralaga village. 

When contacted, Bolangir Collector, Gourav Shivaji Isalwar said, “I have already discussed with the BDOs and labour officer to request the migrant labourers to take part in voting. As per our estimate, some 22,000 labourers are working outside the state.”

Taking a swipe at the Chief Minister, Congress’ MLA from Kantabanji Assembly constituency Santosh Singh Saluja said, “Thousands of people are migrating from Tureikela, Bangomunda and Muribahal areas.  But this 25-year-long government has not done anything to end their sufferings.”

Taking the side of his government, BJD leader from Kantabanji, Firoz Khan said, “As the Chief Minister is going to become our MLA, we will draw his attention to the problems.”

Meanwhile, it is discussed that if the CM wins both seats this time then he might relinquish the Kantabanji seat.

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  • Reported by:
  • MANOJ SWAIN , MANARANJAN JOSHI , Karunakar Budek , Antim Panigrahi