In the 1980s, Kalahandi was a synonym for poverty.
Today, Odisha’s western district is ready to shed its image of being a land of perpetual poverty. The progress made by the district in different fields now speaks about its transformation.
Policymakers, development practitioners and intellectuals from the State and outside presented statistics and analysis to decode Kalahandi syndrome, which always carried a negative connotation, at a three-day conclave, Kalahandi Dialogue, which got under way here on Friday.
Elaborating on the transition, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said: “In the last few years, Kalahandi has scripted a new story. It is the story of growth and resilience. All the credit goes to the people of Kalahandi. Transformation of Kalahandi is visible. It has now become the grain basket of Odisha.”
In 2003-04, the foodgrain production in the district was estimated at less than 6 lakh metric tonnes. Now, its production has increased by 100%.
“The area under irrigation in the district has increased from 1,15,000 ha in 2000-01 to 1,32,000 ha in 2017-18. The district has witnessed massive infrastructure development. The turnaround was possible only due to sheer perseverance and hard work of the people of Kalahandi,” the Chief Minister said.
“Over the past two decades, Kalahandi has witnessed massive infrastructure development - physical and social. A new government medical college and hospital will also come up in Bhawanipatna. The district has also partaken in the industrial boom that is happening in Odisha. Inclusive growth has always been the focus of my government and Kalahandi is one of the finest examples of our model of development,” he pointed out.
Infant mortality rate
As per National Family Health Survey-3, the infant mortality rate was 91 in 2000-01. In 2015-16, it was 40 as against national average of 41. The percentage of reduction is 56 %.
The maternal mortality rate has also seen an impressive drop. From MMR of 424 in 2000-01 to 222 in 2012-13, the change in percentage is 47%.
There has been a sharp increase in per capita power consumption from 334.26 units in 1999-2000 to 1209.21 units in 2012-13 - a jump of 261%, indicating improvement in quality of life.
“Four decades ago, Kalahandi epitomised abject poverty and underdevelopment. Today, Kalahandi is an emerging success story, which we would like to tell the world,” said Sujeet Kumar, Officer on Special Duty, Odisha Planning Board and lead organiser of the event. This has been possible due to right policy and proper implementation of government programmes, he said.
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