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Odisha: Hail Naveen for supporting treatment of Kanakdei

 

Posted on 29 Jul 2014

Last updated 06 Jul 2016

  Odisha, Naveen Patnaik, Student, Suicide
The Odisha government, which couldn’t ensure a hitch free education for the poor tribal girl, has however come forward to bear the cost of treatment of Kanakdei who is battling for life in a critically burnt condition. Certainly, a valid reason why Naveen Patnaik must be hailed and, to help him win another election, a point must be added to his score card for his able and empathetic leadership.
Basudev Mahapatra
 

The two recent cases of girl students risking their life to escape humiliation of non-payment of school fees or not having basic articles like pencil and notebooks demonstrate the success of Odisha government’s various programmes for education to all and upliftment of the poor in the poverty stricken districts.

In a month, two girls, one from Ganjam district wherefrom Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik himself is elected as Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) and the other from Nabrangpur, opted to risk their lives for the reason that their families couldn’t fulfil the basic needs for education of their daughters. The girl from Ganjam district lost her life whereas the other from Nabrangpur is seriously burnt and admitted to SCB Medical College in a critical condition.

In between, B Yakub, a poor class IX student of IMST English Medium School in Malkangiri, lost one of his hands while working for money to buy a pair of school uniform for himself. As per reports, Yakub met with an accident when he came in contact with a live electric wire while measuring a part of the road constructed under PMGSY scheme of the government of India. The impact of the electric shock was so intense that a large part of Yakub’s body was burnt in the accident and he lost one of his hands in it.

It was after the death of Jayanti, a class VII student from Aska town of Ganjam district, the fact of non-payment of stipends to the students came to light.

 

All those responsible for non-payment of the stipend for two long years should have been booked under cases of the murder of Jayanti. But, it didn’t happen. And, it can’t be expected to happen in Naveen Patnaik’s government that virtually runs by a bunch of bureaucrats who can be truly termed “brown-skinned Britons,” matching Naveen’s desire of characters around him.

Jayanti was not paid the monthly stipend of Rs.200, meant to support her education, since two years of committing suicide. Jayanti committed suicide by torching herself to escape humiliation in her school for not having pencil, notebook and other study materials. Had she received her stipend in time, she could have purchased the necessary stationeries and her life could have been saved.

All those responsible for non-payment of the stipend for two long years should have been booked under cases of the murder of Jayanti. But, it didn’t happen. And, it can’t be expected to happen in Naveen Patnaik’s government that virtually runs by a bunch of bureaucrats who can be truly termed “brown-skinned Britons,” matching Naveen’s wish and expectation of characters around him.

Apart from non-payment of stipend, collection of higher fees in government schools was the other issue. In a meeting conducted by Binita Senapati, Additional District Education Officer (ADEO), Ganjam, with Students of Aska Government Girls’ High School and their guardian, on July 5, the students and guardians complained that school authorities had been collecting Rs.180 as joining fees per annum from each student even though collection of fees from students is forbidden as per the provisions of Sarva Sikhsya Abhiyan (Campaign for Education to All).

The concerned departments of Odisha government could have initiated prompt action to resolve the issues. District administration could have been asked to verify if such cases are prevalent in all districts of the state and similar situation is encountered by other school going girls of the state. But, nothing happened. No prompt action was initiated till another such incident occurred.

In the most recent incident of Nabrangpur, Kanakdei Bhatra, a class X student of Ghatguda High School under Papdahandi block in Nabarangpur district allegedly attempted to commit suicide by setting herself on fire, on July 24, 2014, as her parents expressed their inability to pay her school fees in time.

Rescued by her parents and other villagers, Kanakdei was first admitted to the local hospital, then at MKCG Medical College and Hospital at Brahmapur and, now, shifted to Odisha’s largest medical college hospital in Cuttack as her condition worsened further.

Quoting unnamed sources at MKCG Medical College and Hospital, Odisha Sun Times, a leading news portal, reported that “Kanakdei has suffered 95 percent burns on her body. Chances of survival in such cases are extremely remote.”

However, everybody hopes that Kanakdei comes out of all dangers to her life and re-joins school for studies. The Odisha government, which couldn’t ensure a hitch free education for the poor tribal girl, has however come forward to bear the cost of treatment of Kanakdei who is battling for life in a critically burnt condition.

Certainly, a valid reason why Naveen Patnaik must be hailed! And, to help him win another election, a point must be added to his performance score card for his able and empathetic leadership.

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