Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bonda youths migrating in search of jobs, says study

Despite the fact that Odisha government has been spending huge funds for development of ‘Bonda’ – a primitive tribe – in Malkangiri district for the past three decades, Bonda youths are now leaving hills in search of jobs in States like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

The startling revelation came to the light when researchers belonging to several voluntary organisations carried out a study in one Bonda village to know the level of migration among the primitive tribe – which is once known to be one of most an isolated and secluded tribes.
Much to their surprise, researchers came across that among Bonda tribe 38 male and 26 female were migrating and household-wise there were migration from 57 per cent of households in Bonda village. As far as population is concerned, 16 per cent of Bonda villagers were migrating. “Migration among Bonda youths is more visible. About 69 per cent of Bonda migrants are in the age group of 18-35 years of age while 22 per cent are more than 35 years of age,” said Durga Tripathy of Harmony – a Malkangiri-based non-government organisation. Mr. Tripathy said, “Among Bonda migrants, 57 per cent of them do both agriculture and work as a daily wage labour. Among the Bonda migrants, 20 per cent depend on agriculture and once the migration season starts all of them migrate for better opportunity.”

According to the sample survey, even though there was a demand for the job under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, many of them have not been given jobs.

“The survey team observed that hardly any wage work under the MGNREGA was carried out in the villages as most of the beneficiaries have not received any work even after demanding it. About 95 per cent of the Bonda households migrate due to distress condition,” he pointed out.

Umi Daniel, an expert on migration issues, said, “the high level migration in Bonda villages is a matter of serious concern.

Even though government tried to focus on the development of this primitive tribe through micro projects during past three decades, migration is happening. There could be two reasons – either failure of government programme or livelihood resource is drying out in the hills.” He said a more in-depth study would throw light on the critical challenges being faced by Bonda tribe – once a highly secluded tribe of the nation.

Surveyors studied Kishanipada village under Khairpur Block of Malkanagiri.

The Hindu, Bhubaneswar, March 30, 2013

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