Once a Padma Shri winner, now forced to eat ant eggs to survive

Hindustan Times, 25-06-2019 21:25:36

Write Comment     |     E-Mail To a Friend     |     Facebook     |     Twitter     |     Print

Once a Padma Shri winner, now forced to eat ant eggs to survive

The farmer now wants to return the civilian award he was honoured with

Once a civilian award winner, now a jobless farmer. When 75-year-old Daitari Naik won the Padma Shri award, India’s fourth highest civilian award earlier this year, little did he know that the blessing would turn into a curse soon.

Now, the old tribal farmer who hails from the Talabaitarani village in the mineral-rich Kenojhar district in the Indian state of Odisha, wants to return the award. Naik was awarded after he single-handedly carved out a 3-km tunnel through the Gonasika mountains in Odisha, between 2010 and 2013, armed only with a hoe and a crowbar. His effort resulted in the irrigation of a 100 acres of land in his area.

Can’t find work

But the honour that followed only pushed him to penury. According to an article on the Indian news website hindustantimes.com, Naik said: “[The] Padma Shri award did not help me in any way. Earlier I used to find work as a daily labourer. People are not giving me any work as they think it is below my dignity. We are now surviving by eating ant eggs... I am now selling tendu leaves and ‘amba sadha’ (a snack made out of sun dried mango pulp) to run my house. The award has lost all value for me. I want to return the award so that I can get some work.”

Naik told the Indian news website News18.com that months after his award was announced, a few leaders assured him that they would grant him a concrete house under the state government’s Biju Pakka Ghara scheme. But nothing has happened so far. He said that there’s not even an all-weather road that connects his village to the town.

When his name was selected for the award, Naik thought that all the problems of his village would be solved. Villagers of Baitarani were also hopeful that Daitari’s recognition would change the picture of their village. However, not much changed. According to Odishatv.in, Naik said: “We are facing a lot of problems as the village even lacks a road. We don’t have an Anganwadi (child care centre) or a hospital. We have to walk for three miles for a minor medical issue. There is also no drinking water facility. We have the same problems that we had earlier ....”

Hindustan Times reported that Keonjhar district collector Ashish Thakre has promised to look into Naik’s grievances and try to convince him against returning the award.

Social media reacts

Many Twitter users shared the news articles and reacted saying it was unfair. @NG_AROH: “Very sad and shameful! #padma awardee Daitari Naik lives in dire #poverty and #hunger without any means of #livelihood? Can we not, in the least, ensure a normal life for such unsung heroes?”

And, @sanjeevvyas like many others tried to bring it to the attention of Indian lawmakers on Twitter. “@Naveen_Odisha @narendramodi @rashtrapatibhvn a heartbreaking story of #DaitariNaik, never thought a #Padmshree award could cause such a hardship to this simple man. Request immediate intervention, please.”

Tweep @SARBAJITP added: “@narendramodi ji, @PMOIndia @dpradhanbjp @PratapSarngi kindly look into the matter of Padmashree Daitari Naik of Odisha. [Does] talent have no scope?”

Farmers’ plight in India

While for Daitari Naik, the award became a major reason for poverty, the plight of other Indian farmers in the country is no different. Just yesterday, farmers in Karnataka protested with slogans lamenting the apathy of the government and officials to their plight. Mysore district president of the farmers’ association Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, Hosuru Kumar said that farmers had borne the brunt of five consecutive droughts, which had more or less paralysed agriculture in the state. “Delay in the rain, coupled with inadequate supply of drinking water has compounded our woes. The state government must take note of our problems, and respond to this crisis immediately,” Kumar said.

As many as 12,021 farmers committed suicide in Maharashtra from 2015 to 2018 for reasons that included bank loans and crop failure, averaging eight deaths a day.

In Rajasthan, farmer Sohan Lal Meghwal committed suicide on June 24, 2019, because the government did not fulfil loan waiver promises.

According to a report by Indian broadcast channel NDTV, Meghwal was 45 years old and was from the Thakri village in Rajasthan’s Sri Ganganagar district.

In his two-page suicide note, he criticised Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy, Sachin Pilot, of not fulfilling promises.

Meghwal also took a farewell video from his mobile phone, which went viral. The video alerted his neighbours that he was planning on taking his life, however, it was too late. The farmer had consumed poison and died while being taken to a hospital.

In his note, he had written: “They had promised that the loans would be waived off within 10 days of their government coming to power. Their government is here now, but what has happened to their promise?”

Write your Comments on this Article
Your Name
Native Place / Place of Residence
Your E-mail
Your Comment   You have characters left.
Security Validation
Enter the characters in the image above
Disclaimer: Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. Kemmannu.com will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.
Please note that under 66A of the IT Act, sending offensive or menacing messages through electronic communication service and sending false messages to cheat, mislead or deceive people or to cause annoyance to them is punishable. It is obligatory on kemmannu.com to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request. Hence, sending offensive comments using kemmannu.com will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will Kemmannu.com be held responsible.
Similarly, Kemmannu.com reserves the right to edit / block / delete the messages without notice any content received from readers.

Udupi: Traffic congestion and dangers to pedestria
View More

OXEM KITEAK KELEIM DEVA? | (ಅಶೆಂ ಕಿತ್ಯಾಕ್ ಕೆಲೆಂಯ್ ದೆವಾ?) New Konkani video song by DONY&ASHA CORREAOXEM KITEAK KELEIM DEVA? | (ಅಶೆಂ ಕಿತ್ಯಾಕ್ ಕೆಲೆಂಯ್ ದೆವಾ?) New Konkani video song by DONY&ASHA CORREA
Contact for Masks, Sanitizers, PPE kits and More..Contact for Masks,  Sanitizers, PPE kits and More..
LIVE STREAM OF MASSES - Holy week schedule from Abu DhabiLIVE STREAM OF MASSES - Holy week schedule from Abu Dhabi
Choice Furniture vast household showroom opens at Santhekatte, KallianpurChoice Furniture vast household showroom opens at Santhekatte, Kallianpur
Focus Studio, Near Hotel Kidiyoor, UdupiFocus Studio, Near Hotel Kidiyoor, Udupi
Canara Beach Restaurant, Hoode/Bengre, Udupi.Canara Beach Restaurant, Hoode/Bengre, Udupi.
Delite Catering, SanthekatteDelite Catering, Santhekatte
Welcome to Thonse Naturecure HospitalWelcome to Thonse Naturecure Hospital
Kemmannu Platinum Jubilee Souvenir – Amruth KaanikKemmannu Platinum Jubilee Souvenir – Amruth Kaanik
St. Alphonsa of India
Website Maintenance

Website Maintenance

Kemmann.com Face Book

Click here for Kemmannu Knn Facebook Link

Sponsored Albums