06 October 2017


 (In case you find it difficult to read the paper cutting,read this one at the bottom,same text)

                                                                          Almost a century back while on a visit to Odisha, Gandhi termed it "An epitome of poverty, the poorest region of India ". When Gandiji went to England, an artiste wanted to go to Gujarat to draw a picture of an Indian farmer. Gandhi told her “Gujarat is relatively prosperous, go to Orissa. There peasants are nothing but bones & skins”. In fact Gandhi wanted to show the world how poor are the Indian poor through an artist’s eyes!
 A state or country’s development depends on three factors
1. Geographical location
2. The people
3. The leader.
Our people are lazy, crazy and cheats so also are leaders of Odisha. They tell lies and take bribes but the development takes a back seat. Those leaders know that once people get prosperous and literate the politicians will get exposed and would not come to power. They want heart of hearts to see the people begging for help and to remain illiterate.Twenty five percent of people of Odisha are illiterate even some ministers are illiterate as per definition of literacy, they can neither read nor communicate with the common man in local language-Oriya. The writer of this article comes from a remote poverty stricken village of Mayurbhanj- Odisha called Pandhda. Situated at the border of Bengal on one side and Bihar on the other. The blast furnace flames lightning the sky red, used to be visible from our village at night.
                                                                                       A small village with a population of less than one thousand. There is neither a river near by nor any canals, their cultivation depends solely on rain water. Earlier Brahmins with the help of tribal people used to cultivate one crop a year-Paddy.Now a days the old timers are dead and the younger generation with jean and mobiles hate to go to cultivation land to supervise. The cultivation lands are gradually sold to Bangladeshi immigrants for quick money; they have been able to get BPL and Aadhaar cards. The village has a deserted look, as majority of the people of the village have either migrated to Baripada or Bhubaneswar. There is electricity but of very low voltage and irregular supply. Every house has an inverter and a made in China emergency lights. Those few younger generation youths are busy in playing cards, taken to alcohol and drugs, remain bonded labourers under political party. No one is willing to cultivate land, as rice and wheat are available at a throw away price ‘a state and central government sponsored schemes’. Pandhda people have become lazy as a result of which there are plenty of high blood pressure and diabetic patients. The cancer incidence is abnormally high in Pandhda village. Water scarcity continues in summer months as it used to be sixty years back when we were small school going children.Deforestation is rampant, as people around Pandhda continues to use firewood for cooking. Only one retired teacher in the whole village uses gobar gas for cooking purpose. As the cattle’s have been sold to slaughter house there is problem in getting cow dung for the gobar gas plant. Open defecation still continues due to water problem. The latrines have been built with government money but are used as a store room. Pandhda was known for high literacy, culture and healthy people and they used to live long and happily in spite of abject poverty. This village had produced national level cricket players, chhau dancers, bank officers, IAS officers, writers, doctors and professors. This was the first village in the state to have a Mahila Samiti more than sixty years back.
The nearest railway station is ten kilometers away from village. The weekly markets of Jharpukhiria and Bangiriposi where local produce are sold at a reasonable price have been exploited by the businessman. They purchase the vegetable in bulk in a very low price from the farmers as a result of which local people suffer.
Two government run schools of more than hundred years are in the village Pandhda, one the ME and the other Pareswar High school. The students are mostly from SC and ST families and majority of school children go away after lunch hour after the MDM (mid day meal). The writer of this article who visits his parental village frequently has observed the deterioration of village life and health status of the community in spite of economic development.
                                                         It pains us to watch helplessly the deterioration of village life and its people. The Brahmin colony has a deserted look with most of the houses being locked and unused. The migration of village people to cities as they get sick and old are a result of the government policy of only improving towns and cities without the improvement at grass root level is slowly but surely ruining our country. Even after seventy years, many of the villages of Odisha are not accessible to health service and other basic facilities. Instead of segregating all facilities at Capital Bhubaneswar, set-lite hospital must be built by Apollo, Care, Amri and other corporate hospital on leased lands. There should be 7/24 230 volt electricity supply in all villages of Odisha so that people would continue to stay or go on visits to their parental villages on weekends. Hospital, electricity and road facilities will not only keep village life kicking but also lead to people returning back to villages. The tourists spots are neglected by the tourism department which thinks Konark and Bhubaneswar are the only tourist sports of Odisha!
                                                        All readers know that this type of articles carries no meaning as hardly anyone is interested to develop the villages and improve the standard of living. The village life is at a cross road of modernization and poverty of mind and attitude.

Sanjoy Kumar Satpathy
(A Social Activist and an Internal Medicine Specialist)

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