K. Sudhakar Patnaik | 20 Feb 2010


The tribals living on the other side of the Chitrokonda reservoir are on strike.
K. Sudhakar Patnaik
More than 10,000 Tribals which includes non Tribals are on strike from 15th of this month at Chitrokonda Tehsil under Malkangiri District in Odisha in protest against the failure of providing the basic amenities like to operate six numbers of motor lunches with an immediate affect, issuance of B.P.L cards to all the B.P.L house holder of the cut off area. Construction of houses under Indira Awas Yojana to all inhabitants of the cut off area, opening of public health centers to each and every 16 Gram Panchayat of the cut off area and to take proper steps for the regular attendance of the A.N.M’s, opening of high schools attached with hostel to all the 16 Gram Panchayat with teacher staff quarters at G.P head quarters, prevent illegal and force full abduction of the tribals in the name of Maoist activists by Andhra Pradesh grey hound Police and to set up block office at chitrokonda. In the mean time the District Collector Malkangiri R Vineel Krishna had telephonic talk with the leaders of agitating tribals and assured to fulfill all major demands of the tribals of cutoff area. He also confirmed the demands are genuine. When contacted the tribal leaders by this correspondent accompanied with another journalist Mr. Manoranjan Rout ray expressed his dissatisfaction over the way the District administration ignoring them with out fulfilling the demands. The president cut off area tribal union Mr. Kamal Lochan Anakum told the Collector himself will have to spare his time to visit chitrokonda for fulfilling our demands on behalf of the Government. The personal presence of the Collector at chitrokonda would definitely solve certain problems we believe Mr. Anakum said. All the Government offices including police station at chitrokonda remains closed except tehsil office. The tehsil office also was under the lock and key from out side. The Government official seems afraid of visiting the place where the strike is going on. The tribals who are under the banner of Cut off Area Tribal Union decided to intensify their agitation programe from 19th that is Friday and all the elected representatives of 9 Panchayats which falls under cut off area submitted their resignation letters to the Block Development Officer of Kudumuluguma. The Block head quarter is about 50 Kilometers from Chitrokonda tehsil. The Chitrokonda tehsil itself is about 70 kilometers from one the last reaches of reservoir villages. Above 50 thousand people those who have been displaced by the Hydro projects of Machkund, Balimela are living in 151 villages developed the other side of the chitrokonda reservoir under 16 Gram Panchayat which falls under Kudumuluguma Block. Balimela power project authorities begin a steamer reaches 10 reservoir side villages, the last distance of 70 kilometers from chitrokonda   tehsil on the main land in the region cut off from the rest of the World, the steamer alone every thing so what would happen if it did not run for a day the secretary Cut off Area Tribal Union Bijaya Laxmi Muduli Commented. The Naxal dominated Chitrokonda tehsil under Malkangiri district seems no more under the control of the state Government. No not even a single Government officer seen on Thursday last during the visit of this author with another Journalist. The Government official vehicles and Buses are off the road. The police station, C.R.P.F camp and the tehsil office are under the lock and key. The entire business establishments downed the shutters. The leaders have got no confidence in Government because earlier when the tribals are on the strike the then collector Mr. Nitin Bhanudas Jawale assured in written to fulfill all the 11 charter of demands in a month. The earlier strike was from 15th July 2009 to 25th July 2009. The then collector assurance forced the tribal leaders to believe and called off the strike on 25th immediately after gating the collector’s assurance massage on 24the July 2009. Even after 6 months the Government failed to fulfill the legitimate demands of the tribals as a result they forced to organize this strike for immediate implementation of the demands. This author is in position of the photo copy of the collector’s assurance latter given to the tribal leaders on 24th July 2009.
Earlier about14 years back the then chief secretary accompanied with the collector and this author too with them on the day they have given assurance to fulfill these demands when the tribals submitted a representation to both the Governments of Andhra P{radish and Odisha for  merging with Andhra Pradesh then but forgotten the promises given by them. This author also seen no of times when they are on strike the officials assured them to fulfill their demands and later conveniently forget them which are not new, the tribal leaders expressed. When contacted the District Collector Malkangiri R. Vineel Krishna playing vanishing tricks. The Superintendent of Police Malkangiri neither speak to the press nor moves from his residence. The agitators also organised a rally on Thursday covering all important junctions in Chitrikonda Town demanding to fulfill their demands. The rally’s, public meetings are being organised almost everyday only to convey the day today steps taken by the Government officials and the public representatives for taking decisions now and then.
Surprisingly the tribals more than ten thousand taking shelter under the shadow of the trees on the bank of the resorvoir near the meeting place (reservoir site) where they are cocking food and taking from the past 5 days and they do not know how many days it would continue. This is the fate of the tribals after 65 years of independence.