Development of Mayurbhanj in Jeopardy

By Janaki Ballav Dash: Mayurbhanj district observes two occasions on 1st January, the New Year and the Mayurbhanj Merger Day, as the Gadjat state of Mayurbhanj was annexed with Union of India on 1st January1949. The merger document included several provisions for the all-round development of the district. But only a few of them have actually been fulfilled and so the merger agreement has been violated.

On 1st January 2013 Mayurbhanj district will observe the 65th Merger day. Before the merger, Mayurbhanj state was ruled by the Bhanja Deo family. Then, the region was a flourishing one in terms of education, employment, agriculture and many other sectors.

The merger agreement was signed between the then Home Secretary, M.K.Velody on behalf of Govt. of India and Maharaja Pratap Chandra BhanjDeo, the then pro-chancellor of Utkal University. But, it has been complained that after the merger, the district was not given its due.

As per the agreement the government should provide all the facilities that were prevalent during the Gadjat rule. The facilities included, railway, medical, university, High court, Bank etc. But out of these, the district has got only a University.

Many people have also complained that the recommendations of the S.K. Mohanty commission, that had found regional imbalance three years before, have also been ignored by the government.

The main point of discussion is that, it seems the merger document has either intentionally or negligently been lost, as it has not been made public. After coming of the RTI Act, a citizen had applied to get the said Merger document. But the Home department answered that the same is not available with the department and hence the RTI application has been transferred to the National Archives of India. So the final result is that the document has not been revived though a long time has been passed.

Non availability of the merger document indirectly means that the government does not want to make it public. Hence, some aware citizens of the district have started to generate funds to approach to the Supreme Court of India in this matter to obtain a copy of the merger.

As per some citizens, the document included development in medical sector, broadening of the national highways (that pass through the district) and formation of a Sabai Corporation, which are some of the most urgent needs of the district. While it took around 55 years to provide a university, the other provisions of the merger including establishment of a circuit bench of the High court, is yet to be fulfilled.

Presently, Praveen Chandra BhanjDeo, the scion of the Bhanja family is the MLA from Morada hailing from BJD. Earlier he was a Minister but was removed.

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