Odishatv Bureau

Cuttack: Buoyed by the appreciation of the Central team in the developmental works being taken up in Nagada, a tribal village in Jajpur district that made national headlines after the death of 19 children due to malnutrition in the last three months, the Odisha government has decided to step up measures to bring about a sea change in the livelihood of the Juang tribe that inhabits the village.

“We have decided to impart training on bamboo craft to these Juang tribals so that they would learn to make various products and sell them in the market. Besides, they would be trained on animal husbandry, collection and sale of forest produce to make them self-reliant,” AB Ota, Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC), central division, and chairman of the task force formed by the state government for development of Nagada village, told OTV today.

“All programmes like, health care, education, connectivity, food security, light, drinking water, which are currently underway in the village are short-term measures. To ensure that there would not be any instance of malnourishment in the village in future, we are providing them with ration. As far as long-term measures are concerned, we have roped in the Odisha Livelihood Mission, which has started collecting data so that the income generation of these tribals could be sustained,” he said.

Talking about the source of livelihood of these tribals, he said they primarily depend on the forest. “As there is a long patch of bamboo forest in the nearby area, we have decided to impart training on bamboo craft to these tribals so that they can make several daily use and decorative items from it. We are also exploring possibilities of marketing of forest produce collected by these tribals, which could be another source of income for them. We have found that the villagers are rearing pigs and goats. We will decide which animal husbandry would help them generate more income,” the RDC informed.

He further said the steps had been taken by the state government to impart education to the tribal children of the village.

“Out of a total of 85 families in the village, only two have passed Class VII. An NGO, ASPIRE, presently working in this area, has been doing innovative work by imparting education to all school-going children. But it is a short-term measure. As a long-term measure, we have decided to put these children in a nearby residential school. Children, whose age is 10 year or more and who do not have any formal education, will be given a bridge course after which they would be admitted in the residential school,” Ota said.

He also said the state government has planned to upgrade the Upper Primary school in the village to Middle English school. Besides, efforts are on to set up a 100-bedded residential hostel for these children.

Asked whether the state government had decided to replicate the efforts it has been making in Nagada village in other remote and inaccessible villages in the state, Ota said “The manner in which the initiatives of all departments have converged in the development of Nagada village, we hope to make Nagada a model project of development for other backward and remote villages in the state".

“The state government has prepared a format which has been given to all district collectors to identify villages having zero access by August 12. After identification of these villages, the state government will extend all provisions to these villages it has made for the Nagada village,” the RDC said.