The Dandakaranya Project, or the DNK Project, was the form of action the Indian government designed in September 1958 for the settlement of displaced persons from former East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and for integrated development of the area with particular regard to the promotion of the interests of the local tribal population.
When India received its independence in 1947 some parts of India were divided into Pakistan. The Hindu people residing on the land of East Pakistan(East Bengal now Bangladesh) that was divided into Pakistan moved to India as refugees in three phases. In the first phase people were settled in the west Bengal state, and in the second phase people were settled at Assam and Tripura. Eventually there was no room for more people in West Bengal, Assam, or Tripura, so the central government (union government) decided to give them rooms at others states like part of Madhya Pradesh (which is now Chhattisgarh), Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. In the third phase refugees began being sent to places like Andaman Islands.
Most of the places where Bengali refugees were resettled belonged to tribal people. So the union government (which is now central government) designed and put the Dandakaranya Project in place. Through the Dandakaranya Project the Bengali refugees would be resettled on tribal lands, and integrate and uplift the area belonging to the tribal people.
In 1947 a high level committee known as the AMPO committee, made up of the Indian states Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh (the part is known as Chhattisgarh) and Odisa, was formed to enquire about the soil conservation, forest and health departments. Later they declared that Dandakaranya Project will play a vital role to both the Bengali refugees and tribal people residing there. In 1958 the Dandakarnaya Development Authority was set up with its headquarters at Koraput.
Dandakaranya Development Authority
Dandakaranya project was run by Dandakaranya Development Authority(D.D.A) and the project was conceptualized in 1947.
Existence of Dandakaranya Project
The Dandakaranya Project came into existence in terms of the Government of India Resolution (law) dated 12 September 1958, for the avowed purpose of effective and expeditious execution of the schemes to replace displaced persons from East Pakistan in Dandakaranya and for the integrated development of the area with particular regard to the promotion of the interests of the area's tribal population. The sphere of activity has been confined to the districts of Bastar in Chhattisgarh and Koraput in Orissa.
Project at glance
There are 13 sections in the project, namely, project headquarters, finance and accounts, zonal administrations, agriculture and animal husbandry, construction, irrigation, transport and workshop, Industrial, forestry, medical and health, education, supply base, liaison.
Following are the project undertaken :
- Bhaskel Dam
- Pakhanjore Reservoir (Kherkatta Reservoir)
- woodworking centres at Jagdalpur, Boregaon, and Umerkote
- Balangir-Kozilum railway project
- Malkangiri/ Malkangiri district
- Koraput railway station
- Titlagarh railway station
- Jharsuguda railway station
- Sambalpur railway station
- Kothavalasa–Kirandul line/ Kothavalasa railway station/ Kirandul railway station
- Kiriburu project
- Araku railway station
- Dandakaranya – Bolangir – Kiriburu project (DBK project)
Failure of project
Saibal kumar Gupta,( husband of Ashoka Gupta an Indian social worker and freedom fighter) the chairman of DDA, blew the whistle on the Project in a series of damning articles in 1964. He said that less than 10 percent of the soil was fit for farming. These difficulties of agriculture colonization in the Dandakaranya Project were a result of rainfall variability, aridity, land reclamation, soil and hydrological problems .
Chief Administrator of Dandakaranya Project
Anthony Leocadia Fletcher was the chief administrator of Dandakaranya Project from 1950 to 1960.
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- website. "Official website of Dandakaranya Samachar". Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- news. "Struggles Of A Different Kind Published in 1999". Retrieved 25 February 2015.