NABARANGPUR: Political agitations and crimes were the highlights of the year in Nabarangpur district. The BJD, BJP and Congress raised a number of issues throughout the year.
In the beginning of the year, the ruling BJD protested the Polavaram project by Andhra Pradesh Government. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was served an open letter by the Congress workers, who alleged that the former failed to fulfil many of the promises that he made to people of the district. The BJP began its Jana Kalyan Yatra from Chandahandi in Nabarangpur district to create awareness among people about various development projects/schemes implemented by PM Narendra Modi. In May, BJD workers again staged stir demanding wheat under the Food Security Act.
In June, hundreds of Congress workers and tribals took out a procession demanding settlement of forest lands in their favour under the Forest Rights Act (FRA). They barged into Raighar forest range office, ransacked it and assaulted the Range Officer following which, OPCC vice-president and former MP Pradeep Majhi and 18 other party leaders were arrested.
In February 2015, the party workers had submitted a memorandum to the local Tehsildar demanding early settlement of the forest land in favour of the people residing there since long. The Tehsildar had assured them that the matter will be settled within six months but no steps were taken so far. The party had also submitted a memorandum to the Governor through the local Tehsildar on June 25. They stated that of the 1,85,000 people residing in the block, 78 per cent reside in forest lands. But most of them were yet to get their land ‘patta’, it was alleged in the memorandum.
Subsequently, BJD workers, led by Transport Minister Ramesh Majhi, held demonstrations demanding CBI probe into the alleged links of Pradeep Majhi’s family with chit fund company, Seashore group.
Apart from political fights, the district witnessed seizures of animal hides and other body parts. In a significant seizure in March, five members of a poaching gang were arrested and six leopard hides seized from their possession along with body parts of other wild animals, all worth `one crore. In September again, four leopard skins and a live pangolin were seized by officials of Nabarangpur forest division and six persons were arrested on the charges of illegally trading body parts of wild animals.
Crime wise, a Dalit woman Kumari Harijan (29) poisoned her three children before consuming pesticide herself and setting her house on fire. Manager of a country liquor unit of Singhsari village was murdered near Karamgam village. He was carrying `1.12 lakh cash to deposit the money in a private bank in Umerkote when he was attacked.
A pregnant woman died after delivering a baby girl in an autorickshaw as the ambulance failed to turn up on time. The deceased Dalimba Paika belonged to Photakote village under Nabarangpur block. When Dalimba developed labour pain, the ASHA worker called up the 102 ambulance. As the ambulance did not arrive, she took Dalimba and her family to the District Headquarters Hospital in an autorickshaw. But, she delivered a baby girl near Kumuli village on the way.
Superstition held a firm grip over the illiterates in remote pockets of the district. A 25-day-old girl child was branded with hot iron rod as she suffered from stomach ache. Although, she survived the burn injuries, a 15-day-old girl did not. She too was branded by a quack as she suffered from stomach swelling.
In another incident, a five-year-old girl child was subjected to inhuman torture by her relative. The girl, Yangyaseni alias Barsha, alleged that she was beaten up severely on several occasions and packed up in gunny bags by her relative, Bitu.