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Satkoshia: The tableau of Tikarpada tourism!
Trance Tikarpada's touristy tells the tale of its turbid lives' twinge and trepidation. Satkoshia sanctuary shows the tableau of Tikarpada tourism.

Today she has no option but to accept the fact that she will not get any answers or solutions from the democratic government, bureaucrats and political leaders, etcetera. Thousands of women like Sunita keep on asking: where is the 'Women Ujwala Scheme'? For whom is the 'Mission Shakti Programme'? Where are the government's Women Safety, Security, Empowerment and Emancipation plans and policies?

Now Sunita who is working as a cook at the Nature Camp for a paltry sum has got a BPL ration card and is a recipient of widow pension only since January 2019. Does Sunita fit in as a role model to society as per Modi's 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padaho'? When and will Sunita be acknowledged by the BJP Govt? Sunita's endless struggle for her three daughters and herself is a bright and shining example of women power, but nobody knows as to when Naveen Patnaik's BJD government's 'Mission Shakti' will give justice to Sunita.

Sunita is the icon of women's safety, security, empowerment and emancipation. But, when will all these really come into her life nowadays is a big fluorescent question staring us all in the face. Sunita does not know when all these lofty talks and political slogans will become a truth for her. By the time, if at all, these do materialize there would be umpteen women who would have sacrificed their lives in our democratic system. The life story of Sunita goes on to the dark side and flip-flop side of the government and bureaucracy. All the vote bank political gimmickry only goes on to expose the character and real appearance of the politicians who are involved in this chorus of sloganeering.

Recently, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik has launched another much-publicized programme for adolescent girls, namely "Khushi" (happiness) to benefit her daughters and imagining whether really this would materialize or would it just be hollow like the other scheme and plans like what has made her to reach such a stage in her life.

Tikarpada until the 1990s was famous for all the wrong reasons, like poverty, malnutrition, poor health facilities, and white slavery. However, there has come about a wee bit of change, but not as much one would expect in the fag-end the second decade of the twenty-first century.

"In the Satkoshia and Tikarpada sanctuary it is purely the self-imposed jungle laws that prevail in the form of few forest officials dictating terms. These few forest officials prove to be fiercer than any wild animal. In the name of wildlife conservation these brutes do as they please. These brutal elements are least bothered about our livelihood. Without 'Gram Sabhas', in the name of tiger and crocodile conservation all the laws have been imposed on us. We are unable to go into the forest to collect minor forest produce and firewood, and further we have been banned from fishing in our own river Mahanadi. These few forest officials take us into custody for petty matters. There are strict restrictions for any movement after sunset, more like a curfew. On account of these imposed restrictions on movement a daughter could not visit her father who was on his deathbed, and finally her father died. Even if anyone comes after sunset he/she will remain confined in the forest rest-house until the crack of dawn. Passing even a single night at the rest-house is virtually hellish," each villager has the same story to tell with surcharged emotion and anger.

On this the forest officials replied, "We are doing our human best within the parameters of sanctuary rules and governments regulations and laws. At the same time we are paying due attention to the sanctuary as well as the livelihood of the villagers. All is well and fine as long as one abides by the laws."

In Tikarpada the government's housing scheme for the poor people has become an eyesore as there are reports of massive misappropriation and corruption, including cheating by the contractors. The contractors lay the foundation and the plinth levels, after that the poor villagers receive the full amount for their Govt. homes, and most innocently they pay the full amount to the contractors to complete their home. But, mischievously the contractors play a disappearing act. Thus, in actuality, the government's scheme for housing does not see the light of day. Resultantly, these poor villagers have to stay in tarpaulin makeshift cottage.

In order to populates eco-tourism in Odisha forest and tourism departments have set up many Nature Camps. Poor villagers have been working in these Nature Camps. Despite tailing from 6 am to 11 pm these poor workers are not even paid minimum daily wages as fixed by the government of Odisha. In four months each one has ended up earnings rupees 1700 only!! Whither government's labour policy, for whom has the government fixed these daily wages?

On the other side the rupees 80 per head sanctuary entry fee collection by the government officials is a big exploitation of the tourists and most of the tourists are dissatisfied with the Nature Camps' accommodation fees per day. Tourists are demanding that the concerned officials should balance the fees collected.

It is rather shocking and sad to note that the poor villagers find themselves neither here nor there in the scheme of things vis-a-vis their lives and livelihood and the maintenance of the sanctuary. In fact their wait, of the villagers, for government assistance, is very similar to Samuel Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot'.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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