Tribals defy Maoist threat, hold huge congregation to demand development in Malkangiri

Malkangiri: Throwing open challenge to Left Wing Extremist threat, tribals today organised a huge congregation in the cut-off Khairaput Tehsil of Malkangiri district to demand development in their region.

Thousands of tribals from as many as 25 villages in the tehsil gathered at Muduliguda village and held a maha praja meli (large public meeting) to discuss about several developmental issues plaguing their area.

The tribals claimed that they are deprived of benefits of various government schemes and development in their area has been a far-fetched dream due to several reasons. One of the reasons of under development, they mentioned is that their gram panchayat (GP) office is situated around 60 kilometres away from the village while the Block is even 20 km further than that.

Demanding Gram Panchayat to Muduliguda village, tribals said that a GP office situated nearby their villages would help them get access to all governmental benefits and good quality of education and healthcare services.

They further demanded establishment of roadways and other modes of communication on a priority basis to help usher other developmental activities in their area.

“We have to carry the sick persons either on shoulders or cots to reach hospital situated far off from our area. Our children are also not able to go to schools either due to Maoist threat or due lack of facilities. Life is very hard here, so we urge the government to take up developmental activities in our region,” said one of the tribals.

The tribals have threatened to gherao the district collector’s office if their demand for setting up a GP office at Muduliguda and other developmental activities are not undertaken soon.

“We have been demanding Panchayat office at Muduliguda for the last 15 years, our pleas have been falling on deaf ears. If our demands are not addressed soon, we will gherao the collector’s office. In case our demands still remains unfulfilled, we will take our protests to the capital and gherao Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s residence,” threatened another tribal.