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Dana Majhi Row: The Disruptive Image of Governance in Odisha.

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Aniruddha Jena

Mphil Student at Koraput Central University, AB Fellow

Odisha as a state is always in limelight for some reason or the other. As a state it is one of the most preferred region for establishing new business ventures and industries. And the state government is putting much effort in bringing more and more industries to the state in order to uplift the societal condition and to give a better standard of living to the commoners. But on the other hand the governance is one of the major problems in the state and the commoners are paying price for it in their day to day lives. There have been various schemes and forums which are aiming to make lives of the commoner easier and happier, but when it comes to the implementation part something wrong which is happening and the commoners are negatively affected by that.

Taking one particular issue into consideration to analyse the current governance system in Odisha and the part which the state government is expected to play and playing too. In the month of August 24th of 2016, a tribal farmer named by Dana Majhi became one of the most followed newsmaker overnight for a sad for an unexpected and unanticipated reason and the state as well as national media followed him like anything. The reason was about his wife’s uncertain death due to tuberculosis in a state run district hospital of Bhawanipatna. In the morning of 24th August 2016, Majhi’s 42 year old wife died and after her demise Majhi looked after to find an ambulance to carry his wife’s dead body to his native in Kalahandi, a backward district in the state of Odisha. But the sad part was that Majhi couldn’t able to find an ambulance and he was forced to carry his wife’s dead body on his shoulder along with his school going 12 year old daughter for more than 10 kilometres. After the duo spotted by the media persons and they were being helped by the district collector and an ambulance was arranged for the rest 50km to reach their home in Kalahandi.

In his response to the row, the Chief District Medical Officer of Kalahandi has claimed that Mr. Majhi didn’t ask for any help from the medical authorities. And it was only in February 2016, when the Naveen Patnaik led BJD government in Odisha launched a new programme named by “Mahaparayan” scheme and according to the scheme the government will offer free transportation of dead bodies from the government run hospitals to the residence of the deceased. There is also another scheme being offered by the state government of Odisha, which is named by “Harishchandra Yojana” and in this scheme financial assistant will be given to the deceased family for the completion of last rite of the demised soul.

This was the event which shook the whole nation itself and it exposed the real image of the governance in the state government of Odisha. It also showcased how the schemes and programmes which are there to serve the commoners of the state are just for namesake and when it should actually work for the betterment of the society and the commoners in the society, it actually does not exists on time. A state is termed a developed and empowered state when it is able to provide basic education and healthcare facilities to its citizens. When these are being neglected and sided then the future of the state is really uncertain and it is moving in a wrong direction. After the Dana Majhi incidents, there have been a check on these kind of happenings but the real picture of the state governance was exposed after that incident and the BJD led state government has to come out with strong determination and courage to serve the commoners of the state and to have a regular check on the policies, scheme, whether these schemes and polices are actually being implemented and serving the commoners or not, which are actually aimed at easing the lives of the commoners.

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