RAYAGADA: Kashipur block in Rayagada district has been synonymous with poverty and even today, there are several cases where people have been deprived of social security.
One such villager is Ratnakar Majhi of Badapukel village under Kashipur block. He is unwilling to take custody of his baby boy as he does not have money to take care of him. Instead, an ASHA worker of the village has taken up the responsibility for bringing up the child. This despite the fact that the ASHA worker, a mother of three, is herself struggling to feed her family.
Last month, Nilei Majhi, wife of Ratnakar, delivered a baby boy in her house. The ASHA worker, Uttmee Majhi, helped her in the delivery. Soon after, Nilei’s condition deteriorated and Uttmee had to rush her and the newborn to Tikiri Primary Health Centre as Ratnakar was away. As her condition deteriorated, Uttmee took Nilei to the District Headquarters Hospital (DHH) in an ambulance but doctors declared her brought dead. As none from Nilei’s family, including her husband, turned up at the DHH, Uttmee and some locals arranged to send her body back to Badapukel village. The ASHA worker kept the newborn with her for immediate medical attention.
After three days, when Uttmee brought the infant back to the village to hand him over to Ratnakar, he refused to accept his child by saying that he has no money to bring him up. Ratnakar works as a daily labourer to maintain his family of three, including his mother and a minor daughter. When he does not get work, he collects non-timber minor forest produce and sells them in the local haat.
Ratnakar has no ration card and his MGNREGS job work is of no use as he hardly gets any work under the employment guarantee scheme. While Ratnakar said he would not be able to take care of another child due to his failing health and poverty, the ASHA worker said she too would not be able to take care of the infant for long as she is already struggling with maintaining her family with a meagre salary.
Rayagada Collector Jagannath Mohanty said he has no information of the infant but the district administration will extend a helping hand if Ratnakar or the ASHA worker officially approach him.