Odisha was in the news in 2016 for some wrong reasons like Japanese Encephalitis claiming over 100 lives, malnutrition killing infants, Godmen fiasco, water war with Chhattisgarh, farmers’ woes and others as well. Here’s enumerating the grounds due to which the state and its residents had a hard time!
1) The Dana Majhi Episode
The State rebounded in all media circles when the story of Dana Majhi, a poor tribal who had to walk over 10 km carrying his wife’s body on his shoulder from a government hospital of Kalahandi district after being denied hearse service in August, made way into many news channels and media platforms throughout the country. Financial help poured in from many quarters for 45-year-old Majhi, whose wife had died of TB at the hospital, while an educational institute offered free education to his three daughters in Bhubaneswar.
2) SUM Hospital Mishap
The state again found a specific mention and was pointed out when if faced the dire consequences of negligence of the management which resulted in the death of 25 people in an incident of inferno in Sum hospital, Bhubaneswar. Deaths were mainly caused due to suffocation and asphyxiation when there was fire in the ICU ward which did not have the requisite precautionary equipment etc. On further investigation, it was found that many hospitals were not fire safety conditions compliant.
3) Japanese Encephalitis And Malnutrition Trauma
Despite of trying to fight against all odds, the administration almost succumbed to the deadly Japanese Encephalitis which claimed more than 100 lives in the tribal dominated Mailkangiri district within a span of about two months. The disease rapidly spread and six of the seven blocks of the district were badly hit.
Odisha was again in the fire line of the media fraternity following the death of at least 19 infants due to alleged malnutrition at Nagada village in mineral-rich Jajpur district during the months of June-July.
4) Mahanadi River Issues
Yet another issue which drew severe criticism from many spheres was the handling of Mahanadi river water issue with neighbouring Chhattisgarh. The residents and authorities had put up a demand to stop the construction of dams and barrages in upper reaches of Mahanadi in Chhattisgarh, saying the project would drastically reduce water flow into Odisha, which will in turn hit the agricultural, industrial and other activities. Yet Odisha’s management was criticized for “delay” in its approach for setting up a tribunal to resolve the Mahanadi water dispute!
5) The Godmen Fiasco
Another case which catapulted Odisha into a difficult situation was the revelation of the black deeds of self styled Godman, Sarathi Baba. A strongly condemnable front came into furore with him being accused of cheating, bribery and sexual harassment of his devotees apart from money laundering, illegal construction and acquirement of land etc. Another Godman, Sura Baba also met with the same fate. That was not all, there were even reports of politicians and bureaucrats being involved as well, which gave the entire scene an ugly twist!
Original Article Source: PTI