Report by Badal Tah ; Rayagada: Sargiphula literary means flower of sall tree botanically known as shorea robusta. This is the time sal flowers with their seed drop down from the trees and then a slew of activities like collection, processing, packaging and marketing of this Non Timber Forest Product(NTFP) keep the tribal world engaged for additional income. Hence, the nomenclature “Shargiphula” is a befitting word given by the ST & SC Development Department, who is organising this children’s festival especially in residential tribal schools all over the state of Odisha since year 2010.
This year the festival was inaugurated by Sri N Bhaskar Rao, Rajya Sabha MP as Chief Guest who advised the students to inculcate leadership so that they became good bureaucrats, political representatives and ultimately good citizens. “The state is concerned about the education of the tribal children and for this reason, residential hostels for 56000 children have been constructed for holistic development”, said Mr.Rao. Smt.Guha Punam Tapas Kumar, IAS, Collector, who joined as Guest of Honour applauded the study atmosphere in SSD schools like ancient Gurukul. To supplement the reading habits and strengthen the point of reference for further studies, she declared that libraries will be established in each high school and higher secondary levels.
Sri Lal Bihari Himirika, MLA, Rayagada and Ex-Tribal Minister and present District Planning Board Chairman joining as Guest of Honour reminisced the important events of last seven years journey of Shargiphula. Sri Muralidhar Swain, PA, ITDA, Rayagada and in charge District Education Officer described the agenda for the coming three days. He also said how the students, who took part in the cultural activities during yesteryears, had excelled in the field of traditional dance, folk songs, tribal painting, one act plays, sports, life skills, etc. Shargifula is a strong medium where creativity by the tribal children can be showcased to their peer students and general public of the outer world. Declarations by the guests to provide a bunch of facilities in the future have created a lot of hopes in the students.
Sri Jagannath Saraka, MLA, Bissam Cuttack, Sri Abhimanyu Mahapatra, DWO, Rayagada, Principal, Ekalabya Model Residential School(EMRS) spoke on the occasion. Sri Dwiti Chandra Sahu, Asstt Teacher of Bhakurguda School and a local budding columnist whose book on Saura Adbasi Guru Mangei Gamang was inaugurated on the occasion, moderated the inaugural ceremony.
Though the district level event went on for three days in the EMRS near Barijhola village with a science exhibition, a sand art, photo exhibition and few paintings exhibited, the closing ceremony bore less interest among the tribal students. Though a glossy invitation card mentioned the time to begin the event by 5 PM, the chairs meant for persons on the stage and the audience were almost empty till seven at night. The ADWO, who was present in the venue, informed that the programme might begin late at night due to RDC’s review with all the guests like Collector, SP, ADM, PD-DRDA, PA-ITDA, Rayagada, PA-ITDA, Gunupur, Sub-Collector-Rayagada, Sub-Collector-Gunupur, DPC, Special Officer-Lanjia Soura Development Agency, Special Officer-Dangaria Kandha Development Agency, etc. Not a single guest arrived at the venue. The students were left at lurch because of a Super Babu’s visit and review with the said guests. “There is an event of prize distribution for the students successful in different competitions held. May be, this is the reason, some students are eagerly waiting amidst a cold night for the arrival of the coveted guests, of course with hopes and despair. Here all is not well because it has not ended well”, said Sri Deepak Kumar Prusty, a senior scribe of the district, who paid a visit to the event spot alongwith this correspondent.