Staff Reporter

BHUBANESWAR: When Jitu Jakesika, 22-year-old youth from Dongria Kandh, a primitive tribal community in the State , was interacting with his fellow tribesmen over implementation of complex Forest Rights Act (FRA) here on Thursday, to the utter surprise illiterate tribalmen and women were seen presenting their views forcefully.

Reason; Jitu, a student of business administration of a city-based B-school, translated the FRA being spoken in English and Oriya languages in Kuvi dialect. It encouraged Dongria Kandh tribals to become participants rather than being mere listeners in the meeting.

In his 20s, Jitu had already assumed the role of an ambassador of his community after briefing Rahul Gandhi, AICC general secretary, on problems being faced by primitive tribal groups when the latter was touring Orissa a couple of years ago.

But the State government has decided to create an army of 850 tribal ambassadors like Jitu from different primitive tribes in the State to reach out to tribal communities for implementation of welfare programmes.

“We are going to identify 50 educated youths from 17 micro projects concentrating on primitive tribes. We will train these youths who would in turn make their fellow community people understand about FRA provisions,” said A. B. Ota, director of SCs and STs Research Training Institute (SSRTI) here.

Mr. Ota said service of these youth ambassadors could later be used in implementation of other welfare programmes.

At present directorate of SSRTI in collaboration with Vasundhara, a non-government organisation, is imparting training to youths from different primitive tribes.

SSRTI director said the State had taken a pioneering step by translating FRA provisions in 10 tribal dialects, which covered 80 per cent of tribal communities.

Many other States were learnt to have taken a cue from Orissa.