BHUBANESWAR: Courage is the most important of all the virtues. For Jayanti Buruda, a woman from Koya tribe who broke the shackles of illiteracy and backwardness, the phrase fits well.
After bringing the plight of underprivileged people of her community and those from the hinterlands of Malkangiri district to limelight, she aspires to serve them as a people’s representative.
Jayanti now has thrown her hat into the poll ring. She will be contesting for the ZP member post in Malkangiri zone-3 as an Independent.
The 32-year-old from Serpalli panchayat in Malkangiri block quit her job as the district correspondent for a regional news channel last week to contest for elections. “I am, perhaps, one of the very few female members of our tribe contesting a poll,” said Jayanti whose family is also the first educated family in the tribe in Malkangiri. She is the ninth among 11 siblings in her family.
Even as education and literacy among girls in the Koya tribe remains drastically low, Jayanti and her four sisters got the support of the family to complete their studies. Overcoming the financial hurdles, she pursued PG from the Central University of Odisha in Koraput, the nearest university located around 100 km away from her home. Later, she moved to Bhubaneswar for an internship and started reporting for a regional channel as Malkangiri correspondent. This was when she began understanding the problems faced by people of the district, the lack of basic amenities and infrastructure for them.
“Many villages still do not have a pucca road or drinking water, forget healthcare. This is why I decided to enter politics and use it as a medium to bring development to the remote villages of the district”, she said.
Highlighting the issues in various areas, she said access to potable water and basic healthcare still remains a dream for many villages in six panchayats of zone-3. Besides, there is a high drop-out rate, especially among the girl children from tribal communities. “People of Serpalli are dependent on PHC and CHC of other two panchayats - Pandripani and Biramitrapur - for basic treatment while during emergency, Malkangiri District Headquarters Hospital, located 30 km away from the panchayat, is the only option,” she said.
Jayanti - who did not approach any political party for a ticket - said that despite being dominated by tribes, the zone-3 ZP member seat for the panchayat polls has been kept unreserved.
Apart from her interest in politics, Jayanti is actively engaged in social work.