NEW DELHI: 70-year-old Dharaitri Naik, who was confererd with Padma Shri, one of the highest civilian honours in 2019 wants to return the award to the government saying that the honour snatched his source of livelihood away.
“Padma Shri award did not help me in any way. My work was not really appreciated,” said Naik alleging that villagers taunt on him becoming rich because manual labour is below his dignity.
Also known as ‘Mountain man of Odisha’, Naik alleged that he and his family are eating ant eggs for survival and now making their living by selling Kendu leaves and mango papad.
“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,” said Nayak. “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,” Hindustan Times reported.
"The Padma Shri award didn't help me in any ways, rather people are not giving me any work now. We are selling kendu leaves & 'amba sadha' (mango papad) to eke out a living," alleges Daitari Naik who single-handedly carved a 3-km-long canal from a mountain stream #Odisha pic.twitter.com/2sX0tV6w7N
— OTV (@otvnews) June 24, 2019
Naik hails from village Baitarani district of Odisha gained prominence after had single-handedly dug a three-km-long canal from the Gonasika mountains.