In a shocking incident that exposed the failure of social security measures even in a ‘focus area like Kandhamal district’, a poverty stricken unemployed youth sold his kidney to sustain his family. Rattled by the report, district collector Ms Yamini Sadangi ordered a probe in to the incident on Sunday.
“Due to acute and prolonged poverty in absence of any assistance from any quarter or government scheme, I was forced to sell my kidney for Rs. 3.5 lakh at Berhampur on 5 April 2015”, said the unemployed 20-year-old youth, Kanhu Behera here. He said his family was not covered under the BPL category nor any scheme like the Annapurna Yojana, Antodaya Yojana, IAY etc despite efforts to get enrolled as beneficiaries.
“We tried a lot, my four-member family suffered a lot and as I could not tolerate it any longer so I met a ‘dalal’ in Berhampur who paid the negotiated amount and also promised more for my marriage,” said Behera. “I was forced to discontinue my studies in class six. As we don’t get to eat twice a day, it was also difficult to purchase medicines for my parents who are not physically fit to work as labourer,” he said while narrating his plight. Kanhu Behera said he was able to put up an asbestos roof on top of their house and feed the family after selling his kidney.
When contacted, Kandhamal district collector Ms. Yamini Sadangi “I am aware of the news report and have ordered a probe to ascertain the truth”. “I have asked the sub collector to probe into the case and submit a report. The district administration would decide on the next step after receiving the report,” she added.
Significantly Kanhu Behera has not revealed the hospital or clinic where his kidney was removed. Kanhu Behera, the only son of his daily wage earner father Barun Behera, did odd jobs to help his father run the family of four. It is pertinent to note that Kandhamal district is one of the focus areas of the state government and at one point in time Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had appointed a special administrator to oversee developmental activity after the riots in 2008. Patnaik had also assured the people of Kandhamal that he would personally monitor the developmental activity in the district.