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Kui tribals in Odisha refuse to let go of logs for chariot making


Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Daspalla, Feb 25:

The district administration in Odisha’s Nayagarh district is in a fix over how to transport the logs required for building of the chariots for the Nabakalebar Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath at Puri as Kui tribals living inside the Daspalla forest have refused to alloow the logs to be moved out till their demand for basic amenities is fulfilled.

chariot making

Kui tribals residing in 62 small and large villages in Dasapalla forests have stalled transportation of these logs for the last two weeks demanding electricity connection, roads, drinking water and other basic facilities in their villages.

A meeting held by the Nayagarh district administration at the Daspalla block office with the Kui Samaj on Sunday failed to resolve the logjam as the Samaj remained adamant on its demands.

The meeting, which was attended by district collector Hemant Kumar Padhi, Nayagarh DFO Laxminarayan Behera, ACF Suresh Chandra Hota, range officer Biraja Mohan Mohanty, tehsildar Prasant Chhotray, Block Chairman T Abhimanyu Dora had Kui Samaj president and members present in it.

Collector Padhi informed at the meeting that the tender process for providing electricity to the 62 villages was complete and work on it would begin very soon.

However, this failed to convince the Kui Samaj member, who remained steadfast on their stand that transportation of logs would be allowed only after work begins on these services, putting the district administration in a difficult situation.

While the first lot of 80 logs were dispatched to Puri without a hitch, the remaining 539 pieces out of the total 619 pieces of logs needed for the construction of the chariots remain to be transported due to the opposition by the members of the Kui Samaj.

According to the Kui Samaj, 62 small and large villages located inside the forest area do not have electricity connections while most of the villages have no roads. In the absence of schools in the area, children are deprived of education. Since drinking water facilities are non-existent, people are forced to consume water from nullahs and streams leading to apprehensions of an outbreak of water borne diseases like jaundice.

The Samaj has alleged that despite repeated demand for developmental works in these villages, the administration had provided mere lip service by giving assurances, which never get converted into actual work. Wiser with past experience of promises, the people are determined to get their demand fulfilled before allowing transportation of logs for the construction of chariots.