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Puri transformation, ASHA worker in Forbes — snapshots of hidden stories from Odisha

Over 10 days, from 1-10 December, ThePrint travelled more than 2,500 km, across six districts, observing and recording the stories of survival, economic and health development.

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New Delhi: The state of Odisha is often overlooked in the news media. India suffered a major upheaval this year as the second Covid wave struck, but the happenings in Odisha still didn’t find much space in the national conversation. Earlier this month, ThePrint senior multimedia journalist Manisha Mondal and senior correspondent Revathi Krishnan travelled across the state to search for the often-missed stories.

Over 10 days, from 1-10 December, they travelled more than 2,500 km, across six districts — Bhubaneswar, Puri, Kandhamal, Balangir, Kalahandi and Sundargarh — observing and recording the stories of survival, economic and health development over a decade and the Naveen Patnaik government’s initiatives.

The travel to Puri took them to the redevelopment project around the Jagannath temple. In Sundargarh, their search led them to an ASHA worker from Gargadbahal village, who was recently featured in the ‘Forbes India W-Power 2021’ list. Matilda Kullu has become an inspiration and her fight against casteism and heroism during the pandemic certainly makes her stand out.

In Kandhamal, they found out more about the implementation of the largely-unknown health scheme, Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY), which the Patnaik government runs in place of the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat. In the same district, they were faced with people’s still-fresh memories of the 2008 riots.

Here are some snapshots from ThePrint team’s 10 days in Odisha.

A tribal woman shows the BSKU smart health card | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
A tribal woman shows the BSKY smart health card in Daringbadi village in Kandhamal district — known as the ‘Kashmir of Odisha’. | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

Matilda Kullu has been working as an Asha worker for 15 years | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
Matilda Kullu has been working as an ASHA worker for 15 years in Sundargarh district.| Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

Due to the cyclone alert in Odisha, the Puri was cleared. After Jawad subsided, tourists look at the sea, as the beach remain closed | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
Due to the cyclone alert in Odisha earlier this month, Puri beaches were cleared out. Here’s a view of tourists overlooking the Puri beach after Cyclone Jawad subsided. | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

Hiroz Nayak, the 37 years old who had witnessed riots in 2008 walks with his daughter towards their home. Nayak, his family along with other Christian neighbours had fled where rioters attacked | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
Hiroz Nayak, a 30-year-old who witnessed the Kandhamal riots in 2008, walks with his daughter towards their home. Nayak, his family, along with other Christian neighbours, had fled where rioters attacked. Nayak does farming and stays near the church with his family. His family cannot afford a smartphone, so his daughter has been unable to study for nearly two years now. | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

Puri redevelopment project is in full swing | Photo: Manisha Mondal |ThePrint
Puri redevelopment project is in full swing. | Photo: Manisha Mondal |ThePrint

A worshipper folds hands outside Jagannath temple | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
A worshipper prays outside the Jagannath temple. | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

A protest organised by Anganwadi workers in Bhubaneshwar | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
A protest organised by Anganwadi workers in Bhubaneshwar earlier this month, seeking higher wages and permanent jobs. | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

Posters of CM Naveen Patnaik can be found everywhere | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
Posters of CM Naveen Patnaik are everywhere in Odisha.| Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

In the Kalahandi Balangir Koraput (KBK) region people the quality of paddy crops is not the same. A lady hold freshly cut paddy in Kalahandi region | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
In the Kalahandi Balangir Koraput region, people say the quality of paddy crops is not the same. A lady holds freshly cut paddy in Kalahandi district. | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

In Balangir district farmers complain about the poor quality of crops because of lack of water | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
In Balangir district, farmers complain about the poor quality of crops due to lack of water. | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

Tribal population of Daringbadi welcome with "nomoshkar" | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
Tribal population of Daringbadi say welcome with “nomoshkar”. | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

At the International Sand Art festival, contestants from Odisha gave a to the state's contribution to hockey | Photo: Manisha Mondal |ThePrint
At the International Sand Art festival, contestants from Odisha paid a tribute to the state’s contribution to Indian hockey. | Photo: Manisha Mondal |ThePrint

The pink sky at the beach of Puri | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
Beautiful skies at the Puri beach. | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

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