Kishun Lohra at Vikas Mela in Lohardaga on Wednesday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Ranchi, Nov. 8: The breezy Johar Yatra of Arjun Munda may have been a blessing for thousands among the poor who were handed out government sops by the chief minister over three days in as many districts.
But for Kishun Lohra, a resident of Lohardaga, it was an opportunity denied as he made a last ditch effort yesterday to earn the promise of a job and a decent life for his handicapped daughter.
A frail man well into his 50s, Lohra wandered about the district collectorate ground — the venue for a ritual Vikas Mela — for hours in anticipation of a chance meeting with the chief minister.
Munda arrived around 12.30pm and took to the dais. But Lohra failed to make it past the crowd and a heavy presence of security personnel in the Naxalite-hit district.
Luckily, he somehow managed to find his way to the media gallery.
Holding a paper (read petition) in his hand, Lohra told The Telegraph, “I want a job for my daughter who is handicapped due to polio. She has passed Plus Two and knows a little bit of computer too.”
The tribal, who covered 20km from his native village Baratpur to reach the venue, added, “The policemen are not allowing me to approach the chief minister and give him a petition requesting a suitable job for my daughter.”
Parmuni Kumari, who secured second division in intermediate (humanities) from MLA Inter Mahila College in 2009, could not accompany her father to the venue.
But Lohra claimed she was not short of any zeal to excel and pursue her goals since childhood.
“She is very determined and despite all odds, she never gave up her dream for a decent life,” said Lohra, adding he had been turned away by various district officials despite his request.
He is worried that if Parmuni fails to land a job, prospects of her marriage would be none.
Munda, who distributed assets worth over Rs 10.53 crore under schemes such as Mukhya Mantri Laxmi Ladli Yojana and Mukhya Mantri Kanyadan Yojana, besides seed money to self-help groups, left the venue at around 2.30pm, as he had to attend a BJP meeting.
The police and district administration were on their toes to present a rosy picture before the chief minister.
But during the mela, which was organised by the administration, Surendra Oraon, a resident of Nawadi village in the Naxalite-hit Senha block, told The Telegraph: “I work as a labourer in Ranchi with my wife. My family has not been issued a BPL card and I am deprived of benefits of government schemes.”
No wonder his six-month-old daughter, who he had brought along, was not among the 1,077 girls whom the chief minister handed over benefits under the scheme during the mela.
Earlier, the chief minister had told mediapersons that the district, from where companies like Hindalco and Vedanta extract raw material to produce aluminium, had not been up to the mark.
He had also conceded that infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate in the district were higher than the state’s averages. He may even add the plight of the differently abled to the list.