Tale of two brothers: One Maoist, another Sarpanch

Mana bhanjan Badaik, The Sarpanch of Meghpal gram panchayat

One brother still believes power would flow from the barrel of the gun, another has taken the ballot route. One has turned a hardcore radical swearing by Mao’s ideals, the other has vowed peace offensive and development thorough democratic process. This is a tale of two brothers who have treaded two different paths.

Meghpal gram panchayat is home to hardcore Maoist Gobardhan Badaik. One of his brothers Mana Bhanjan Badaik is the sarpanch of the GP. Meghpal is considered the ‘Naxalbari’ of Sambalpur district. It is the place where Maoists killed former Sarpanch of Tampargarh, Kader Singh in broad daylight in 2003 announcing their arrival. Since then, the place has been the hotbed of Maoist activities.

But there is a wind of change. Despite the threat of Maoists looming large, Mana Bhanjan has started a silent revolution for development of the panchayat.

Once considered a backward panchayat which helped Maoists make the area their stronghold, Mana Bhanjan has become a catalyst of change and villagers are gradually feeling it would isolate the Maoists someday.

Setting his priority right, Mana Bhanjan said all that people require are basic amenities __ drinking water, health, education, communication and electricity. Admitting that Maoists took advantage of the backwardness of the area to spread their tentacles, Mana Bhanjan, a Matriculate himself, lays thrust on education.

And his effort is slowly paying off. Today, new school buildings and anganwadi centres have come up in several villages under the Integrated Action Plan (IAP). In a bid to boost irrigation, he managed to get sanction for 40 farm ponds spread over the panchayat and work is on verge of completion. This, he hopes, will help the villagers remain engaged in cultivation all the time.

It will complemented by digging up a new ‘kata’ (tank) under National Horticulture Mission (NHM) at Khadiberna at an estimated cost of Rs 15 lakh.

The monsoon is likely to help store water in the ‘kata’ and ease water scarcity in the area. Similarly, Mana Bhanjan’s efforts have helped several hamlets get power supply. His relentless fight for legitimate rights of the people has helped him achieve success even in implementation of Forest Rights Act and Indira Awas Yojana.

Underdevelopment, he says, is key to growth of Maoists. His exposure to the Maoist problem in the area has helped him understand the nuance of Maoism and he exuded confidence that the Maoists will not be able to recruit youths from the panchayat any more.

However, he said a lot remains to be done and hoped that his effort will be supported by the district administration.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.