KENDRAPARA: THE Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) has selected an eight-year-old girl of the district for National Bravery Award 2017. The award will be given to Mamata Dalai, who hails from Bankual village under Dangamala gram panchayat within Bhitarkanika National Park, on Republic Day in New Delhi for saving another girl from the jaws of a crocodile.
District Collector Reghu G said, “The award will be handed over to Mamata on Republic Day function in New Delhi by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for saving the life of eight-year-old Asanti Dalai from a salt-water crocodile on April 6 this year. The district administration had recommended her name to the Government for National and State Bravery Award.”
As per reports, Mamata and Asanti were washing utensils in the village pond when a crocodile suddenly appeared from knee-deep water. The reptile grabbed Asanti with its jaws and tried to drag her into the water. However, Mamata fought with the crocodile using utensils following which the reptile lost its grip and failed to drag Asanti into water.
Mamata, daughter of Nirmal Dalai, showed exemplary courage to save her friend Asanti from the crocodile. Due to the girl’s presence of mind, Asanti managed to escape with minor injuries on her hand, said Nrusingh Behera, a villager.
Bhitarkanika is a home to around 1,700 estuarine crocodiles and the reptiles often invade ponds and other water bodies in the villages around the park, informed Pradip Das, another villager.
Meanwhile, Bankual village erupted in celebration after child protection officer of Kendrapara Purnachandra Mallick informed Mamata’s family about the award on Thursday.
“Since morning, villagers in large numbers are thronging our house. My husband works in Surat and will come to the village soon. We will go to New Delhi together to attend the award function,” said Mamata’s mother Chima.
Currently, Mamata is a Class III student in a private school in Bhubaneswar. Earlier on April 13, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had felicitated Mamata in the State Secretariat for her act of bravery.