Keonjhar villagers leave for other states to work as bonded labour

Keonjhar: Villagers of Nipo under Bansapal block of Keonjhar district are moving out of the state in search of work as they have been facing hardships to feed their families. Blaming the non-implementation of schemes launched by the state government and meant for the poor, the villagers are ready to sweat out as bonded labours anywhere outside the state.

“If the government does not understand our situation, we are bound to go out in search of work. as there is no work in the village,” was the statement of a child labour rescued from New Delhi. Unable to get any work, she had left her village in search of a job.

Nipo village is situated at a distance of just 500 metres from the National Highway-49 in Keonjhar. It is inhabited by Bhuan tribals, who in absence of agriculture land, sustain on small forest products that include fire wood. The villagers say that other than working as bonded labour they do not have any option and allege that they are left out of various government schemes.

A villager, Aamiri Montri, alleged, “We manage to get food once a day and there is no work. We cultivate few crops on the hill but only half of that grows.”

Another villager, Kamala Montri, said, “In absence of work we are dependent of the forest and forest products. We have job card but in absence of work we have no option.”

However, Bansapal BDO has refuted the allegations. Talking to OTV, Bansapal BDO Ashwini Kumar Meher said, “I will not agree with the allegations as we have ensured since last three months that minimum two community projects run in each village. And such projects are currently running and people in many places are not interested to work. I can also give the statistics that zero attendance for work has been reported at many places, people are not coming to work. But response of people is good; we are performing good work in MGNREGS here.”