BHAWANIPATNA: Hundreds of Dongria Kondhs of Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district resolved not to accept PDS rice at a meeting at Parsali under Kalyansinghpur block of Rayagada district on Saturday.
The Dongria Kondhs of Lanjigarh, who attended a meeting chaired by convenor of Niyamgiri Surakhya Manch Lada Sikoka at Rayagada, refused to the accept rice under National Food Security Act (NFSA). The meeting was also attended by senior members Dadhi Sikoka, Bari Pidikaka and Ludu Krungelika.
Listed as Primitive Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), the Dongria Kondhs inhabiting Niyamgiri Hills and five blocks of Lanjigarh, Kalyansinghpur, Muniguda, Ambadola and Bisamcuttack in Kalahandi and Rayagada districts were enlisted under Antyodaya Anna Yojana and were availing 35 kg rice free of cost. But after implementation of NFSA, they will get only 5 kg rice per head. Moreover, the beneficiary will have to pay for the rice.
Worried about their sustenance if the new system of 5 kg rice per head is implemented as most of the tribal families are small, the Dongria Kondhs have informed both the district administrations about their decision not to accept rice under NFSA till the old system is restored.
They have also threatened to take to the streets and close block and panchayat offices in the five blocks indefinitely if their demands are not met.
The tribals also alleged step-motherly treatment by Gram Sevaks and district officials who rarely visit them to know about their problems. The Dongria Kondhs said deficit rainfall has damaged crops grown on hills and many families are spending days without food but the administration is yet to take any steps and come to their rescue.