"To begin with, MSP for at least ten minor forest produce including Sal seed, Mahua seed and Tamarind will be announced for the benefit of tribals and forest dwellers," Oram told reporters during his two-day visit to Odisha. Stating that all procurement agencies would be bound to pay the MSP for the forest produce, the Union Minister said the measure would go a long way in mitigating the plight of a large number of tribals and forest dwellers who depend on forest produce for food, shelter, medicines and income.
It would ensure that tribal people get a remunerative price for the produce they collect from the forest and provide alternative employment avenues to them, the BJP leader said. Describing education, healthcare, communication, electricity and irrigation as priority sectors in the tribal dominated areas of Odisha requiring special attention, Oram said education among tribals must be raised through spread of knowledge, mainly in modern science and technology.
Lamenting that healthcare facilities in tribal areas of the state remained poor, the Union Minister said qualified doctors were not available in sufficient number, while road communication and rail network must be upgraded. Atrocities against tribals, specially assault and misbehaviour with girls by teachers have increased in the state, said Oram, who reviewed the condition of tribals in Odisha during a discussion with state officials.
Tribal population in the state has also increased due to inclusion of several new groups, he said, adding that he would soon make field visits in different tribal areas of the state to assess the ground situation.