Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Aug 24:
Failing to get their demands fulfilled after a sustained protest at Lower PMG square here since the start of monsoon session of the Odisha Assembly, 10 women Gaon Sathis today tried to enter the Chief Minister’s Naveen Patnaik’s residence here by breaking the security cordon to meet him and inform him about their plight.
Some women attempted to kill themselves by drinking poison, but they were prevented from doing so by the security officers deployed in front of the Naveen Niwas main gate.
Police personnel later forcibly removed the angry agitators, who ignored the police warning not to enter the area where prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code were in force.
The women protesters were bundled into police vehicle and taken to the Airfield police station here.
According to the protestors, the Odisha government had discussed with the Gaon Sathi delegates the issue of their permanent employment last year. Minister Arun Sahoo had agreed with the six-member delegation of Gaon Sathis, led by Gaon Sathi Mahasangh president Laxmidhar Biswal, to fulfil the vacant posts reserved for Gaon Sathi, permanent employment and monthly salaries and other demands. But even after a gap of eight months, the assurance remained unfulfilled, they alleged.
“After failing to get justice from officials of the state government, we waited in front Naveen Niwas to meet the Chief Minister today to place our demand before him. But the security officers blocked our way forcing us to consume poison,” they said, adding, their protest will continue until their demands were fulfilled.
It may be mentioned here that the Gaon Sathis were recruited primarily to assist in the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) in villages. Two people from each village having the highest educational qualification were appointed as Gaon Sathis.