- The Maharangajodi Village in Odisha is increasingly becoming known as the ‘Village of Widows’
- The men have lost their lives to deadly lung diseases while the women are expected to carry the burden of survival
- No compensation has been provided to the widows by the government or the mining company
July 22, 2017: In Keonjhar District of Odisha, the Maharangajodi Village has witnessed the deaths of men because of lung disease. Their women are left with no option but to seek ways of survival in this ‘Village of Widows’.
In 1982 a mining company called Pyrophilites was inaugurated in the village. It was responsible for the production of lime and sand stone.
The 50 men in the village, who worked at this mining site and earned living for their families, saw their health being degraded. Gradually, these men became weak and also faced trouble in breathing. It was discovered that the exposure to silica had an adverse impact on the health of these men.
The men lost their lives to deadly lung diseases they had developed over the course of employment. Silica affected the men with a fatal disease known as Silicosis.
The village was branded as ‘Village of Widows’ as none of the workers survived the disease.
Pyrophilites was shut down eight years ago. However, no compensation has been given to the women or the families of the men who succumbed to the fatal exposure.
Sarojini Khuntia told Odisha TV, “The company paid very less wages to the men. Even after exploiting them, the company did not do anything to mitigate the problems of the workers diagnosed with respiratory disease. Neither have we been compensated after their deaths”
Furthermore, the government has remained insensitive to the issue. The party in power had failed to provide any compensation or even assistance for these widows to take care of their families.
– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394