Keonjhar: A day after Orissa POST highlighted the plight of Juang tribals living in Bayapandadhar village under Banspal block of Keonjhar district, a team of officials from the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) visited the village and interacted with the people about their problems. Project administrator Tapan Kumar Nayak, the special officer, an assistant engineer and the project coordinator of ITDA looked into the issues of the primitive Juang tribals.
The report appeared in this newspaper mentioned about unhealthy living conditions, consumption of spurious liquor, unavailability of safe drinking water, lack of livelihood opportunities and poor healthcare among other issues that are taking a toll on the tribals. The apathy has resulted in the premature death of 12 tribals within a year. The officials enquired about the reasons behind the deaths, issues related to their livelihood, employment scope and healthcare facilities.
The tribal residents told the officials about the people who have died of various diseases. The villagers said that two Juang tribals had died in the first week of July. The deceased were identified as Madha Juang, 35, and Babula Juang, 25. The deaths have sparked panic and concern among the tribals. This year, over 12 Juangs have died prematurely for various reasons in the village. Some conscious villagers blamed unhealthy living conditions, consumption of spurious liquor, contaminated water and lack of healthcare facility for these deaths. They said that houses have not been provided to them while lack of safe drinking water and scope of earning have made their lives miserable. They have been given job cards, but are yet to get work under any livelihood scheme or poverty alleviation scheme like Mahatma Gandhi Nation Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
As a result, they have often had to migrate for works or live in hunger when there is no work. They demanded that they should be provided financial assistance under social security schemes while premature deaths have become a matter of grave concern for them. Many villagers are suffering from malnutrition due to lack of nutritious food. Many of them live in shanties or in ramshackle houses where their life becomes miserable during rains.
ITDA project administrator Tapan Kumar Nayak said, “We reached the village after the media report and took stock of the condition of the tribals. A report will be submitted to the Collector and steps will be taken for sorting out their problems including healthcare issues.”