KORAPUT: “I sold two sarees and one blanket to buy rice.” These words of Nila Khilo, a 30-year-old widow from Dudhari village in Semiliguda block of Koraput district belie the claims of the administration about providing social security cover to the poor.
Nila has been left to fend for herself after the death of her husband Sima a few months ago due to prolonged illness . All her savings and belongings had to be sold off to meet medical expenses. Lambodhar Khilo, her eldest son, was forced to leave school.
A student of class VIII, he now works in the fields as a daily labourer, she added. Santosh Khilo, their second son also had to follow suit this year after the death of his father. Now, Santosh tends cattle , she added.
Nila fell ill after the death of her husband and the family depends totally on the income generated by the two boys.
She is losing her strength day by day and her arms and legs have grown extremely thin, preventing her from doing any work.
The severe rains that lashed the State for the last few days have broken the back of the already struggling family.
One of the walls of the small hut collapsed, forcing them out into the open. There has been no work for Lambodhar and the money earned by Santosh is not enough.
Without a widow pension or any kind of social support from the government or other agencies, it is difficult to purchase rice even if it was just at Rs.2 per kg, she added.