Kendrapara: With electioneering process going on in full swing by partisan and non-partisan candidates for upcoming three-tier polls of local-self bodies in Kendrapara district, the contestants have eyed on votes of migrant workers as an alluring pocket to achieve victory.
Even to the extent, many of the candidates have been arranging for temporary return to cast votes in their respective home turfs. Local party workers have become instrumental in convincing the families of migrant workers and booking journey tickets for their come back.
A source said that as many as 46 per cent of the total number of bonafide voters under the Aul, Rajnagar and Mahakalpada Assembly constituency segments in Kendrapara are working elsewhere outside the district or even outside Odisha. Every single vote matters as the total number of voters in panchayat segments are very limited.
“Candidates in the panchayat elections win or lose with a very narrow margin of votes. The three major political parties in Odisha – BJD, BJP and Congress – have been attaching utmost importance to the upcoming three-tier polls in Kendrapara district. As results of the polls could possibly be reflected in the general elections in 2024, more candidates winning seats in the local-self bodies have become a prestige issue,” a local social activist Sunil Kumar Panda said.
Around 57,000 educated youths in Kendrapara, who have registered their names under the district employment exchange, still await jobs. Similarly, more than 3 lakh workers have migrated to places outside the district and state as well, the social activist Panda stated.
Meanwhile, local BJD youth wing leader Rajesh Kumar Panda said that Chief Minister and the party supremo Naveen Patnaik has always given priority to employment. The BJD-government has implemented welfare schemes such as KALIA and BALARAM for the farmers.
State government has introduced schemes providing loan facilities against nominal rate of interest for the SHGs to promote women empowerment. It has launched also single-window facilities meant for young entrepreneurs to avail loan, the youth wing leader added.
BJD-government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with ArcelorMittal group to set up a large-scale industry in Kendrapara, in order to generate employment. In addition, the government has opened State Institute of Plumbing Technology (SIPT) at Pattamundai, including a skill development centre in the district. Employment Fairs are being held for the local youths, Rajesh Panda further said.
BJP local youth wing leader Dillip Dash said, “The agricultural and industrial policies of the Central government are very much clear. If properly implemented, no job aspirant would have to leave the district and work elsewhere. Central government’s welfare schemes are being hijacked by the BJD-government and voters have understood it.”
In a similar vein, Congress local youth wing leader Sambit Srichandan said, “Our party is always concerned for the migrant workers and youth work-force. Former Chief Minister Janaki Ballabh Patnaik had introduced the ‘Thousand Industries Thousand Days’ scheme.
Congress-led UPA government had introduced the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), thereby bringing solace to the migrant workers. The party is capable to find out a solution to curb migration, the youth wing leader expressed.