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Padma Shri Awardee Eats Ant Eggs to Survive, Wants to Return Award

Wednesday, June 26, 2019 • Tamil Comments

Padma Shri Awardee Eats Ant Eggs to Survive, Wants to Return Award

Dharaitri Naik, a 70-year-old hailing from the state of Odisha who single-handedly dug a three-km-long canal in the Gonasika mountains, was conferred with Padma Shri in 2019. The man had used a crowbar to carve the canal in order to bring drinking water from a stream. He now wants to return the award to the government, however, as he believes that it has destroyed his source of livelihood. His work has not really been appreciated and the villagers taunt him about becoming rich, saying that manual labour is below his dignity. The ‘Mountain Man of Odisha’ is now forced to eat ant eggs in order to survive. 

He said: “Padma Shri award did not help me in any way. Earlier I used to get work as a daily labourer. People are not giving me any work as they think it is below my dignity. We are now surviving by eating ant eggs. I am now selling tendu leaves and ‘amba sadha’ (mango papad) to run my house. The award has lost all value for me. I want to return the award so that I can get some work.” It is very sad to see the condition the awardee has fallen prey to. Hopefully, he will be given timely assistance in order to improve his situation. 

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