Monthly allowance for Padma Shri awardees: Grateful to media, govt, says Odisha’s mountain man

Keonjhar: A day after Odisha government announced a monthly allowance of Rs 10,000 for Padma Shri awardees belonging to economically weaker section (EWS), it has ushered new aspirations for Daitari Naik whose wish to return his Padma Shri award triggered a furore, & is believed, to have forced the government to announce monthly assistance.

In an exclusive interview, Odisha’s mountain man Daitari stated that he wanted to return the Padma Shri as the recognition robbed him of his livelihood.

“For months I didn’t get any work and it created problems for me to look after my family,” said Daitari.

Daitari further asserted that it was only after media published reports on his plight; the State government announced the special allowance which will certainly help him.

“When my situation was reported by media, the State government announced the monthly allowance. I am grateful to the media and the state government,” Daitari added.

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik yesterday had approved the State Culture Department’s proposal to provide monthly allowance to the Padma Shri awardees of the state.

The Culture department has also undertaken a special drive to identify the total number of Padma Shri awardees in Odisha. As per official sources, 84 people have been awarded Padma Shri in Odisha and already 45 of them have died.

Daitari Naik was felicitated with the Padma Shri for single-handedly carving out a 3-km-long canal from a mountain stream with a hoe and a crowbar to irrigate agricultural land in his village.