Staff Reporter

Tehsildar says some promises are made in writing

Agitation enters the ninth day

PGCIL promises electrification of 151 villages within 18 months

BERHAMPUR: Rays of hope of pacification of agitating tribals in Chitrakonda in Malkangiri district came up on Thursday evening.

It was ninth day of the agitation by tribals who had continued to gherao the Chitrakonda tehsil office. Speaking over phone, the tehsildar of Chitrakonda, D.Gopalkrishna said the agitating tribals were provided some key promises in written form. The tribal leaders had started discussing the promises.

Mr Gopalkrishna was hopeful that the agitating tribals would call off their agitation and return to their villages.

Mr Gopalkrishna was mediating with the agitating tribals to pacify them. On Thursday the tehsil office received a faxed letter from the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) with the promise that the PGCIL would electrify 151 villages of seven panchayats of cut-off areas of Chitrakonda reservoir within next 18 months. The tribal leaders were shown this written promise made by the PGCIL.

Collector’s promise

Apart from it the district Collector had also promised procurement of five new motor launches for transportation to cut off villages of the reservoir. The tehsildar said these were the two major demands of agitating tribals. But in their memorandum they had a list of 11 demands. Malkangiri district Collector Nitin. B. Jawale had also promised to start efforts to fulfil the rest of the demands within next 30 days.

These demands included better public distribution system, medical facility, education etc.

The agitating tribals continued to gherao the Chitrakonda teshil office even on Thursday. The agitators are camping on open spaces near the tehsil office and the local market. The agitators include a large number of women and children. They are cooking their food and sleeping at the place.

Mr Gopalkrishna said electricity and communication were their major demands. It is an irony that these tribal families have not used electricity till date although they languished for decades for hydro-electricity projects.

These tribals were first displaced by Machkund Hydel Project which got completed in 1948. They were settled in Chitrakonda area. After that the Balimela Hydel project was constructed in 1964, for it the tribals were again shifted further downstream.

Since then these villages have remained water-locked by the Chitrakonda reservoir.