Rayagada: After a long time, Rayagada witnessed an excellent congregation of tribals May 27 at Srikagudum village under Baisingh gram panchayat in the district. As many as 500 people from 15 villages participated in this meeting as primary stakeholders in their community development process. This joint gram sabha was convened by sarpanch Biruma Majhi and coordinated by social activist Balaram Panda and youth leader Krushna Tadengi. BDO Lakshmi Narayanan Sabat, deputy collector Puspa Chaudhary, local forest officers, and local intelligentsia like Bikram Panigrahi, Dusmant Mohanty, Chitrupa Sarangi, Mangalmurti Beuria, Gangadhar Padhi shared their supporting views and commitment to the resolutions adopted in the gram sabha.
Chief guest Chittaranjan Sarangi guided the discussion and decision-making process. The resolutions adopted will be forwarded to the district administration for approval. The residents resolved to develop Baisingh as a model village ensuring basic provisions of income, healthcare, education, and human rights to all families and preventing all anti-social and illegal activities in the village. Each member took a vow to perform social duties for a better society. An advisory committee in the name of panchayat development committee was formed to guide the development process.
Local intelligentsia Bikram Panigrahi, Dushmanta Mohanty, Chitrupa Sarangi, Krishna Tadingi, Arjuna Yadav and two lawyers M Beuria and Gangadhar Padhy joined as advisors, and 30 youths from 15 villages were taken as members. They will assist in all the activities of the panchayat under the leadership of Balaram Panda. An organisation of 300 youths and senior students is hereby formed under the chairmanship of BDO LN Sabat.
Resolutions were taken to create employment for them by providing shops at beautiful viewpoints at tourist spots. Promotion of khadi and cottage industries of agro and forest products will open new avenues for self-sustenance. This youth organisation will protect biodiversity and earn their livelihood from it as part of a model experiment. The panchayat will seek guidance and support from the Forest department to operate under the PESA Act.
It will deal with procurement, value addition, processing, and marketing of all minor forest products especially medicinal plants directly engaging educated young men and women of the panchayat. The panchayat will be declared free from alcoholism. All anti-social activities promoted by outsiders will be prevented and all members will be practitioners of ethical values in developmental activities run by the government. The individual and community level issues will be raised at BDO level and promised to address them with immediate effect taking cooperation from the district administration and line departments.
An educational camp for the leading forty youths of the panchayat will be held at Tapobhoomi Ashram, Bhubaneswar from 6-8 June in order to enlarge their span of thinking, and vision for a better living, and generate faith to execute the decisions. They will travel 400 kilometres from Rayagada at their own expense to learn about their behavior and activities with nature, community, government, and market.
Women were there in large numbers to declare that they will be organised and educated to rise to the occasion and act on all matters on equal footing with their male counterparts for the socio-economic upliftment of their families, especially children who were also present in good numbers in the program. The girl students of Baisingh High School are forced to walk three kilometres from the hostel to the school. The administration was requested to build a hostel for the girls near the school immediately. In case of delay, the community will start a Satyagraha to fulfill their democratic rights. The entire program was organised with donations from the village fund, young tribal organisers, and guests on dias.