JEYPORE : It was a gloomy year for people of Koraput district. While Japanese Encephalitis claimed many lives, farmers could not sell their produce despite a bumper yield due to demonetisation. The district that faced frequent rallies and demonstrations over the Polavaram issue, saw no respite from Maoists, who spread terror in the district with a series of killings.
In fact, the year began with Maoists killing a businessman, Rohini Nachika, at Dandabadi village under Boipariguda police limits in January. The month also saw murder of former Naib Sarpanch, Krishan Miniaka, by ultras in Kandho Tikarapada village under Bandhugaon police limits.
Last week, a Naib Sarpanch’s husband G Appa Rao, was killed by Maoists at Potaba village in Talagolur panchayat under Pottangi police limits. Prior to that, Maoists, under the banner of Koraput- Srikakulam Divisional Committee, burnt construction vehicles and killed a supervisor.
Recently, five persons were arrested for their alleged involvement in the murder of former Maoist cadre T Anil Kumar alias Chandu at Upper Kanti village under Semiliguda police limits on December 14. Those arrested are president of Sunabeda Tippers & Truck Owners Association Narendra Macha alias Mitu Kalia, his wife Jayanti Macha, son Amir Macha and his aides Madhu Tadingi and Biswanath Padhi. Reason for the murder is not known yet.
Ghasi alias C Bhusan, a top Maoist leader involved in many criminal cases in the State, was freed from Koraput jail as a local court acquitted him of all charges.
On the other hand, two DVF jawans were suspended for ganja smuggling from Machkund to Chhattisgarh. Police arrested at least 60 ganja smugglers in the year and seized 30 tonnes of the contraband from Nandapur, Semiliguda, Jeypore and Potangi areas.
Chairman, Koraput Municipality, and BJD leader Biswabhusan Patnaik had to resign from the post in connection with the charges of misbehaviour brought against him by a woman councillor.
In summer, intense heat condition gripped Koraput district and the hilly areas, which are termed as coolest places in the district, were not spared either. The highest temperature recorded during the season was 39 degrees Celsius. During monsoon, heavy rain in Narayanpatana block of Koraput district cut off two panchayats from the mainstream.
People of around 50 villages under Bargi and Lanalbeda panchayats were severely hit and five bridges, besides 50 km rural roads, were washed away in the rain. Paddy crops in thousands of hectares of land were either submerged in the flood water or sand cast in Bandhugaon, Narayanpatna and Laxmipur blocks.
The national project status to Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh saw massive protests in Koraput as the district unit of ruling BJD called for bandh. The Opposition Congress and BJP also staged demonstrations over the project that would submerge 15 revenue villages in Malkangiri district. Japanese Encephalitis raised its ugly head in Koraput district and claimed lives of 12 children in Boipariguda and Kundra blocks within a period of three months.
Even as the year brought bumper harvest of 20 lakh quintals of paddy in both kharif and rabi seasons, farmers had to face delayed procurement. Farmers got good yield from vegetable crops as well. Demonetisation hit the tribal economy hard as business activities came down by 10 per cent.
At Jeypore, a tanker carrying over 17 tonne gas to Raipur from Visakhapatnam through Koraput overturned when its driver lost control on the steering wheel while negotiating a turn. The incident hit normal life of tribals in the area as they were asked not to cook as LPG leak continued for five days. Villagers were also stopped by the administration from cremating a woman’s body anticipating fire outbreak.