Odisha govt embarks on ‘Mission Nagada’

Bhubaneswar: After being pushed into a tight corner in two back to back incidents – first in Gumudumaha (Phulbani district) and then in Nagada (Jajpur district) – the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government on Friday announced the doubling of the entitlements under existing food security programmes for each beneficiary in the region.

“The current food grains entitlement of each family in the area will be doubled. Food grain entitlement under all state and central schemes, including the National Food Security Act (NFSA), will be doubled,” Agriculture secretary Manoj Ahuja said.

“We are in the process of sending energy-rich nutritious food items to the region. It will reach them soon,” Ahuja noted.

The ruling party, which woke up to the issue of malnutrition leading to the alleged death of 18 children in the hilly terrains of the mineral rich district in the last three months, also announced ‘emergency’ plans to address issues like health and transportation, sectors that have never received any attention of the government.

Besides announcing a 24×7 health camp on the hilltop, houses to 85 families, the State government also discussed plans to construct motorable roads to reach the hamlet.

“Currently we are focussing on health and transportation issues in the area. If we go from Dhenkanal side, then we will reach the place a little early. So we are planning a feasibility study to construct roads from both the sides. For supply of water also the discussion is going on,” Ahuja stated.

Since there is no electricity in the village, we have decided to provide one solar light to each family, the official said.

After reviewing the situation two days back, Child and Women Development Minister Usha Devi had announced the opening of four mini Anganwadi centres in the village.

Official sources said, the State government has chalked out both short-term and long-term programmes to develop the area.

Meanwhile, with three new cases, the number of children admitted to the nearby hospital has reached 22. Doctors treating the children said 15 of them have been affected by malaria.