For Malkangiri tribals, cross-border marriages are for love of television

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Malkangiri, Oct 12:

At a time when the nation is hotly debating Smart City and Digital India schemes, there are places in the country which are yet to get electricity connections, speaking of the great divide between ‘India’ and ‘Bharat’. Dandipadar is one such nondescript sleepy tribal village under Mahupadar panchayat in the district.

dandipadar tribal

The village is devoid of basic minimum facilities with no signs of development, no roads, no electricity nor even the bare minimum safe drinking water. In order to reach the village, one has to climb a hill.

Dandipadar has a mixed population of Koya and Durua tribals. A total of 65 families reside in this village.  In the absence of electricity connections in their village, these villagers visit Koleng and Puspalli villages across the border in neighbouring Chhattisgarh to watch movies on television, get their mobile phones recharged etc.

In contrast to Dandipadar in Odisha, the villages inhabited by the same tribals on the other side of the border, have roads, electricity, drinking water and health facilities – a situation which our Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, running his fourth consecutive term, should ponder about.

Dandipadar Villagers depend on Chhattisgarh villages for their day to day needs like buying bare essentials and also for their livelihood. Taking advantage of the situation, some traders from the neighouring state often exploit them by offering lower prices for cereals produced by them and forest produce collected by them as well.

Finding no answer to the indifference of the state government on this side, Durua tribals have found out a novel way to beat the Odisha government’s indifference towards their village. They are entering into matrimonial alliances with their community members on the other side of the border so that they can enjoy the minimal pleasures of life like watching movies on television etc.

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