Guv urged to take Malkangiri under administrative control

Bhubaneswar: Concerned over the recent mass resignation of more than 60 elected representatives of Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs) in Maoist-hit Malkangiri district, former Pradesh Congress Committee chief Niranjan Patnaik on Tuesday sought Governor SC Jamir's intervention to exercise his powers under Article 244 (1) of the Constitution of India and take administrative control of the district.
 
In a letter to the governor, Patnaik said, "I humbly request your intervention considering that Malkangiri is a Schedule V district under the Constitution of India."
 
Article 244(1) of the Constitution of India empowers the Governor of Odisha special responsibility about the administration of Scheduled Areas as provided in the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution.
 
Notably, the Scheduled Areas Order 1977 declares seven districts viz. Mayurbhanj, Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada and Nawarangpur and parts of other districts as Scheduled Areas of the State.
 
The former OPCC chief added on May 4, 2013 he had visited Kalimela and Malkangiri after knowing about the en-masse resignation of PRI leaders, mostly adivasis. 
 
“I requested the Chief Minister to take stock of the situation. But neither the Chief Minister nor any of his other ministers have visited the district,” Patnaik added.
 
“There is a lot of anger in the district about the apathy and neglect of the State Government….I also request you to visit Malkangiri early to assuage the feeling of anger and frustration among the people of the district,” he stated.
 
The letter further said, "The Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues seem to be avoiding the district because of their own security concerns," adding that the district was unable to utilize central funds timely and properly.
 
Mentioning about the Center’s generosity and the state government’s negligence towards the district he said, “The Central government has been pouring in money under various flagship programmes as well as gap funding under BRGF, IAP etc. But after 14 years of BJD rule the district continues to be one of the three most Maoist affected districts in the country and one of the poorest.”
 
The Congress leader also urged the Governor to direct the chief minister and senior bureaucrats to visit the district.