Odisha: Deepavali celebrated by Rayagada Collector, Police with the orphan girl children: Orphanage under serious threat of eviction by Railways

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Report by Badal Tah; Rayagada: Following the foot prints of CM Naveen Pattanaik, Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy, 5T Secretary V K Pandian, who celebrated this Diwali with deprived children and sportspersons, Rayagada Collector alongwith DIPRO, DCPO and others celebrated Diwali night with the orphan girls of Seva Samaj at Rayagada. Fire crackers and sweets were distributed among the girls. Collector Sri Pramod Kumar Behera fed sweets to a few tiny tots. He himself ligtened the diyas and fired the crackers alongwith all the inmates. “More than being with the orphan girls as a gesture of charity, joining the orphanage in celebrating the festival of lights has recharged us and provided a motivational impetus to me and my colleagues”, said Behera.

Similarly during the wee hour of the Diwali evening, district police under the leadership of Sub-Divisional Police Officer Sri Tapan Narayan Rath and IIC Sri Nihar Ranjan also celebrated the Deepavali with these girls, who mostly come frompoor tribal communities. This has not only encouraged the girls who miss their families but also helped exploding several myths about the police. Police can be friendly and familial. This has augmented the empowerment process of the girls, who are the future citizens.

“Though aids from Govt and charity from local people are available, the land where the orphanage is situated belongs to Railways. Scores of officers, MPs, MLAs, Ministers and Governor had visited this ashram. In spite of several correspondences to Railways and district administration by the Ashram Management since last one and half decades or so, nobody has paid a heed. They are under serious threat of eviction by Railways, more so after Rayagada had been declared as a Railway Division. Several evictions from Railway land have already started. If such eviction takes place here, the romanticism of administrators and politicians, who project this Ashram and orphans as show piece, will perish”, lamented Smt Bidulata Huika, a tribal activist of the district.

“Community based rehabilitation is the best method to empower the destitutes like orphans, old aged-abandoned, tortures-harassed women and girls; but slowly the society is becoming self-centric and that’s why there is a need to institutionalise the process of rehabilitating these destitutes. In our Seva Samaj Orphanage at there are fifty girls who stay here and attend different schools nearby. Unfortunately these orphans do not enjoy festivals like Deepavali with their parents in the absence of them. The girls are enthused to get new family members like Collector and police and their patronage”, said octogenarian Gandhian Sri Jayaram Jena, who manages this orphanage.

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