Cut-off villagers threaten poll boycott

As a last resort to pressurise the State Government to act on their demands, villagers in the cut-off region on the other side of the Chitrakonda reservoir have threatened to boycott panchayat polls.

In a meeting held at Gurusetu near Panasput, 30,000 tribals of 151 villages under six gram panchayats of Kudmulgumma block have reportedly decided to boycott the local polls in their areas over their six demands.

The villages are water-logged and deprived of basic amenities like drinking water, health, education and electricity. Repeated talks with officials concerned have yielded little result. Their demand for electricity is two decades old.

Sensing the mood of the people, politicians too have preferred to skip the region.

The district administration sources said despite the Maoist threat, efforts are being made to accelerate development works in the cut-off region.

Sub-Collector Loknath Mandia said the administration had prepared a special package for the? region which would be declared after the polls.

Sabars Demand ST Tag

Jajpur: About seven lakh ‘Sabar or Saara’ people of 10 coastal districts have decided to boycott the polls. They are protesting the State Government’s refusal to grant? tribal status to the community.

This was decided at an emergency meeting organised by Sri Sri Nilamadhav Adivasi Sangh (SSNAS) at Palar under Dharmasala block in the district.

?“We have been demanding tribal status for the past couple of years. But the Government has paid no heed. We will take to the streets

if our demand is not conceded,” SSNAS Jajpur district president Kusa Nayak said.

People belonging to this community mostly reside in Jajpur, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Khurda and Balasore districts. Jajpur district alone has 1.64 lakh Sabar population.

Anganwadi Centre in Eye of Storm

Paradip: Peeved over shifting of the anganwadi centre, the women of Nokaipur village under Ersama block have threatened to boycott the ensuing panchayat polls. Sources said Department of Women and Child Development had decided to open an anganwadi centre at Nokaipur village but later shifted it to a nearby village owing to alleged political pressure. They further alleged that as a result, the pregnant women of the village have been deprived of nutritious food.

The irate women have sent a memorandum to the district collector citing their decision. Meanwhile, some political party leaders including block officials tried to persuade them to drop their decision.

Dam Oustees Join the Chorus

Sambalpur: Four villages under Salad gram panchayat of Rengali block have resolved to boycott the poll scheduled for February 19. Their wait for basic amenities seems a little too long having been displaced by Hirakud Dam Project more than six decades back.

Kurla, Barikpali, Sapne and Jogipali villages are mostly inhabited by the displaced people. However, even after decades they have neither received compensation nor have been properly rehabilitated, The villages lack drinking water facilities and the villagers have long been demanding permanent pattas against the land allotted to them besides irrigation facilities.

The villagers maintained that they had been running from pillar to post over the demands and petitioned all elected representatives and senior administrative officials, but there was no redressal of their grievances.

They have apprised the District Collector of their decision to boycott polls through the Rengali Tehsildar.

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