Nuapada: Tribal people dwelling in Sunabeda sanctuary, which is otherwise known as a fortress of Maoists, were taken aback Sunday when they found Collector Madhusmita Sahu in their area where even lower rung officials are seen once in a blue moon.
There are 55 hamlets in Sunabeda sanctuary where basic facilities like electricity, drinking water and communication are still elusive to these people. The people hardly get to see a government officer visiting their area with a view to giving them a patient hearing. They allege the block administration has been keeping itself away from visiting the area on some pretext.
They were surprised to see the newly-appointed Collector in their area, which is located 3,000 ft above mean sea level.
The Collector reached the hutment dwellings to interact with the residents and to understand their sufferings without any police security. The red beacon flasher was removed from atop her vehicle too. From Michhapali village, she started her journey to the hamlets through dense forest, covering a distance of 30 kilometres.
On reaching, she went around the Sevashram school, run by the ST/SC Development Department. She had a closer look at the condition of the school building, lying half-constructed for years. She checked upon the attendance and the food provided to the students. Thereafter, she inspected some roads built on behalf of Chakutia-Bhunjia Development Agency (CBDA). She also surprised the workers by visiting the Anganwadi centre to get a first-hand experience of the ground realities of the Integrated Child Development Scheme.
Sahu also interacted with some people belonging to Bhunjia community. Realising that no projects were in place to enable the Bhunjias to give them a livelihood, she said she would see what she could to immediately give them a permanent source of earning.
On her way back, she visited CBDA’s complex at Michhhapali. She directed the employees to be present and work for the people’s overall development.
The Collector was accompanied by CBDA special officer Bhaktabandhu Agasti, assistant engineer Seetakanta Sahu, project manager Surendra Patnaik and engineer Sunil Kumar Argar.
Accolades and appreciation poured in for the new Collector for her maiden visit to the area.