Odisha’s Bonda tribe sees rise in ‘distress migration’ -Satyasundar Barik
While the youth have abandoned villages for work in distant towns, children have dropped out of schools after pandemic
Andrahal: Perched at a height of 3,500ft above sea level in the hilly Malkangiri district of Odisha, this village is difficult to access and so are its inhabitants — the Bondas, a particularly vulnerable tribal group, known for their secluded lives away from the mainstream.
However, the lack of access has not prevented young Bondas from being forced leave their pristine hamlets for low-paid jobs in distant towns of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and States even farther. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic appears to have quickened the ‘distress’ migration.
Sombari Muduli, 60, has visited the Malkangiri district headquarters, 80 km from her village, just once in her life. However, her 16-year-old daughter Gurubari has crossed State borders to work in prawn processing plant in Visakhapatnam.
Without waiting for the COVID-19 pandemic to abate, Gurubari left her single room hut months ago. In her neighbourhood, Pradan Batri, 16, and Khuji Sisa, 17, too migrated to Andhra Pradesh immediately after the lockdown.
The disturbing trend of distress migration has also caught up with Bonda students who were studying in residential schools before COVID-19 pandemic.
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The Hindu, 21 November, 2020, https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/odishas-bonda-tribe-sees-rise-in-distress-migration/article33150934.ece?homepage=true