Reported by Simanchal Pattnaik
Phulbani, May 7:
The Kui Samaj Samanya Samiti (KSSS), an influential tribal body, has threatened a district shut-down and agitation if the Odisha government does not pay heed to its longstanding demand for the establishment of a medical college in the triball dominated and backward Kandhamal district
In a press release issued today, the firebrand secretary of KSSS Lambodar Kanhar has said the state government’s step-motherly attitude towards Kandhamal has been proved by the fact it has ignored Kandhamal’s genuine need while proposing medical colleges at five district headquarter hospitals in the state.
“While the Centre has provided financial assistance to the state government on the basis of its recommendation on the selection of site for the proposed medical college, the latter has shown its step-motherly attitude by deliberately ignoring this tribal-dominated district where the healthcare services are in a shambles,” rued KSSS secretary Lambodar Kanhar in a release today.
Justifying his contention, Kanhar said since it is not possible for the people of Kandhamal district to seek better healthcare in other districts due to their precarious financial condition, the state government should have been keen on converting the district headquarters hospital to a medical college to not only benefit the people of the district, but also its neighbouring areas of Boudh, Kantamal, Sonepur, Daspalla, Bhanjanagar and Kalahandi.
“Though we have reiterated our demands a number of times to the state government, there has been no response from the latter till date”, Kanhar alleged.
In his release Kanhar said that the demand for a medical college in Kandhamal was part of the 34-point charter of demands that was submitted in 2008 to the chief minister.
“The chief minister had agreed to meet the demand then probably because his government was in big trouble over the 2008 riots and made a false commitment only to appease the people here.” he said in the release.
Alleging that the people in Kandhamal have been victims of gross apathy and neglect by the state government in every sphere over the years, Kanhar said they would be compelled to resort to agitational means if the state government does not announce the setting up of a medical college at the Phulbani district hospital after due upgradation.