Bhawanipatna: Even as the tribals of the primitive Dongria Kondh community live a life of neglect and obscurity in Niyamgiri Hill spread over Kalahandi and Rayagada districts, rampant sale of spurious liquor is taking a heavy toll on the lives of tribal men, a report said Sunday.
The Dongria men by consuming the spurious liquor prepared by blending sprits and fertilizers are dying a premature death as their numbers have dwindled in comparison to their women over the years.
Observers pointed out that it is high time the government took up a programme to save the tribal men from untimely deaths failing which the day is not far when the primitive tribe will become extinct in the state.
The Dongrias have been living on 117 sq.km of area on Niyamgiri Hill for centuries. However, they have been living in deprivation in their dilapidated shanties with a few possessions as the benefits of government welfare schemes are yet to reach them.
The water of the jungle spring, juice of salap tree and country liquor are the mainstay of the Dongrias known for their unique culture and food habits.
The United Nations has expressed serious concerns over the dwindling numbers of girls in the world while the reverse is true in case of Dongrias. The Dongrias are primarily a matriarchal society where the women toil from morning till night to keep their hearths burning while the men stay back at villages and consume liquor.
However, the rampant flow of spurious liquor from the urban areas to Niyamgiri Hill has sent alarm bells ringing for the community. Five years back, they were consuming liquor prepared from date palm and jackfruit but now they exchange pineapple, mango, jackfruit, turmeric, oranges to buy liquor.
The men folk are dying untimely as the hooch traders are lacing the liquor with chemicals, sprits and fertilizers to give an extra kick to the drinkers. The sex ratio of the Dongria Kondhs is 1,000 males to 1470 females.
According to a finding, there are only 3,898 men against 5,738 women of the tribe in seven panchayats of Kalyansinghpur, Bissam Cuttack and Muniguda blocks in Rayagada district.