Reported by Ranjan Rath
Rayagada, Nov 16:
Senior Congress leaders of undivided Koraput district in Odisha yesterday came down heavily on the Utkal Alumina company for betraying the poor tribals.
Addressing the 140th birth anniversary of eminent tribal leader and freedom fighter Birsa Munda at Sorisapadar in Kashipur block of Rayagada district, former MP and vice president of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Pradip Majhi, while speaking about the supreme sacrifice made by the tribal leader in India’s struggle for independence, said the development of the tribal community in Odisha had gone two steps behind during the tenure of the present government.
“The state government is just not bothered to lay emphasis on setting up agro-based industries. It has, on the contrary, made all possible provisions for thorough exploitation of the poor tribals by setting up mega industries like the Utkal Alumin,a, he told a huge gathering of tribal Congress workers and leaders from Kashipur, Laxmipur, Narayanpatna, Koraput and Rayagada blocks.
While making it clear that he was not opposed to industrialization per se, Majhi said industry should be set up with the consent and cooperation of the local people.
Taking a dig at Utkal Alumina, the former MP said though the company had started its work since 1992, it has not allowed any tribal of the area to work as contract labourer at its plant, leave alone appointing any local youth and contractors.
Alleging that the company had not made any effort for the peripheral development of the area, Majhi said the company was yet to fulfil even a single demand out of the 38-point charter of demands submitted to it several years back, .
In his address, Koraput MLA Krushna Sagaria said there was need for another Birsa Munda, who, like the great tribal leader, would wage a relentless struggle to safeguard the interests of the tribals for the development the undivided Koraput district.