Odisha Sun Times Bureau
R Udayagiri, Aug 14:
The Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) of Gajapati district in Odisha, which had tried to hush-up the alleged suicide by a tribal nursing student on Wednesday after she failed to get her stipend money released even after knocking at the doors of the ITDA for 16 months, today described her death as ‘a painful incident’.
ITDA Gajapati Project Administrator Kalyan Kumar Rath, while speaking to the media today, described the death of nursing student Sunita Raita of Diptinagar of R Udayagiri block as a ‘painful incident’ and said she was among the 60 to 70 candidates sponsored by the ITDA for undergoing ANM training. He said she had not been discriminated against and her application for stipend was under process as was the case of other candidates sponsored by the ITDA.
Rath said the collector had assured her that she would get her stipend during a grievance hearing at R Udayagiri block headquarters on August 11. He described her taking the extreme step just a day after the collector’s assurance as a ‘most unfortunate incident’.
Tension prevailed in the area on Wednesday after the alleged suicide by Sunita with angry locals blocking the R Udayagiri- Parlakhemundi road for three hours between 2 pm to 5 pm keeping the deceased Sunita’s body on the road.
They alleged that Sunita had petitioned the collector on August 11, two days back during the grievance hearing, but had not received any concrete assurance from him. Zilla parishad member Jagabandhu Das and former R Udayagiri sarpanch Premlata Raita blamed the district administration for Sunita’s death.
After police failed to evict the squatters blocking the road, Zilla parishad members Jagabandhu Das and James Raika, Girija Shankar Nayak, president of Merchants’ Association, Rabindranath Patra, SDPO and officer-in-charge of R Udayagiri police station Jaidev Biswajit contacted the collector and got an assurance from the collector for a grant of Rs 20,000 for cremation of the deceased and a compensation of Rs one lakh within a week following which the blockade was lifted. The agitators were also promised whatever amount was possible from the CMRF.
It may be mentioned here that Sunita Raita, a B Sc nursing student hailing from Diptinagar in R Udayagiri, committed suicide Wednesday after allegedly failing to get her stipend money released from the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) despite visiting the local ITDA office repeatedly for the last 16 months.
Sunita was selected and sponsored by the ITDA Gajpati district in 2013 for undertaking a course in Auxiliary Nurse Midwifery (ANM) at the Capital Academy of Nursing in Bhubaneswar, for which ITDA was to provide her a stipend.
But Sunita had to frequently visit Gajapati to get her stipend money released from the ITDA, but to no avail.
But with the nursing college authorities making it clear that she won’t be allowed to sit in the exams unless she pays her course fees, Sunita was at her wit’s end.
The nursing student allegedly took the extreme step after her only hope of getting justice from the district collector was dashed. Shattered after her last hope crumbled, Sunita ended her life on Wednesday bu hanging herself.