Statesman News Service
KORAPUT, Jan. 31. — The “Kalinga Nagar effect” was felt at distant Koraput yesterday, as tribals declared that they will not give up their land for setting up an industry or a dam. But the difference between the two areas was that at Koraput the tribal leaders emphasised “proper rehabilitation package for the tribals” while at Kalinga Nagar the tribals have virtually rejected any such package.
Mr Anand Kirsani, the leader of Displaced Persons’ Mahasangh addressed a rally at Koraput yesterday, which was attended by Displaced Persons’ Association members from Sunabeda, Damanjodi, Kolab, Maliparvat, Machkund and Semiliguda. The show was supported by the district Congress committee and addressed by Mr Siba Prasad Patnaik, who happens to be the DCC president. Mr Patnaik condemned the attitude of the state government towards the tribals.
Koraput is now witnessing a continuous presence of leaders from Opposition parties leading different rallies to show their sympathy for the condition of the tribals in the district. Recently, the ruling BJD had also organised similar rallies in the district headquarter and Jeypore to express their solidarity with the tribals.
At the BJD meetings, minister for water resources Mr Rabi Narayan Nanda, had criticised the Opposition for instigating the people by giving false statements on the Kalinga Nagar issue. It was foolish to be poor while standing on a heap of gold, he said. He complimented the state government for having a proper rehabilitation policy and blamed the Opposition for misguiding the public in this regard. Mr Jayram Pangi, MLA of Pottangi went a little ahead by blaming the media for providing exaggerated news on the Kalinga Nagar issue.
Whether it is the ruling party or the Opposition, the tribals have become the magic word for shouting slogans and voicing protests. However, the tribals who were till date grieved at the fact that nobody cared to visit them would be certainly relishing this sudden media and political attention, no matter how much they benefit from this in reality.