JMM demands separate council for North Orissa districts

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Baripada, Aug 23 (UNI) The Orissa unit of the Jharkhand Multi Morcha (JMM) will demand for establishment of a ''North Orissa Development Council'' (NODC) comprising Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Sundargarh and Balasore in the model of the ''Western Orissa Development Council''.

The demand for the NODC will be raised at a massive rally, described by the Morcha leaders and activists as a ''Maha Samavesh'', at the Chhau Padia at Baripada here on Monday.

The rally is being organised at the backdrop of anti-JMM agitations launched by the ruling BJD and BJP during the past one month, condemning JMM supremo Shibu Soren's proposal for formation of greater Jharkhand with the merger of three Orissa districts.

The BJD-BJP combine had already observed ''Mayurbhanj Bandh'' on July 23, August 6 and August 18 to protest the demand for inclusion of three Orissa districts in Jharkhand.

JMM sources said to counter the BJD-BJP's campaign, the party has decided to ''go the people'' to explain their stand on quickening the process of development of tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj district.

''The rally will expose the apathy and neglect shown by the successive governments, both at the Centre and in the state, towards the development of Mayurbhanj, allowing it to languish in poverty and backwardness,'' JMM sources said.

The Maha Samavesh, the sources said, would project a 14-point demand for the all-round development of Mayurbhanj. The demands included, among others, early establishment of a permanent bench of Orissa High Court at Baripada, inclusion of the '' Mundari'' language of the Ho-Mundas and the ''Kudmali'' language of the 'Kudmi Mahantos' in the Eighth schedule of the Constitution.

The party would also demand for immediate appointment of at least 1,000 ''Santhali'' language teachers to impart lessons to the Santhal children through the medium of the ''Ol-Chiki'' script and establishment of some major large scale industries in resource-rich Mayurbhanj district, which could generate significant employment opportunities.

Political observers felt that the JMM Samavesh was mainly aimed at resurrecting and repairing the damage caused to its support bases in Orissa resulting from JMM supremo Shibu Soren's demand for Geater Jharkhand.

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