As the country on Tuesday observed ‘Vijay Divas’ paying tributes to heroes of Kargil war, the authorities in Odisha’s Kendrapara appeared to have forgotten to honour a martyr who laid down his life in the war.
The foundation stone plaque of a memorial pillar of the Kargil martyr is gathering dust at his native Kandiahata village in Odisha’s Kendrapara district. Fifteen years on, nothing has been done to erect the memorial pillar.
Sachidananda Mallick was enrolled in Army as a sepoy in 12 Mahar regiment in 1989. Later he was promoted to the rank of Lance Naik. Fighting for the country in Kargil conflict, he had laid down his life on 28 June 1999.
There was considerable hype over the success of 1999 ‘Operation Vijay’ and this river-locked hamlet commemorated the war victory with the “son of the soil” making the supreme sacrifice.
On June 28, 2001, then Lok Sabha member, Pravat Samantaray, accompanied by the district collector had laid the foundation stone of the memorial pillar. Work for pillar installation has not moved an inch since then.
The then MP had also sanctioned funds for the memorial pillar under Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS).
But nobody knows whether the funds to keep alive the martyr’s memory were used or misused.
“I do not know anything about the memorial pillar project. I am new to the place. However, steps would be taken to put in place the memorial pillar,” Prasant Rout, Block Development Officer of Rajkanika, said.
“It is a dishonour to a martyr. It is indeed unfortunate that the memorial pillar is yet to come up,” former Kendrapara MP Samantaray said.
The battle for Kargil took place between India and Pakistan during May-July, 1999. The conflict was triggered after Pakistani soldiers managed to occupy key positions on the Indian side of the Line of Control in Kargil sector. It had officially come to an end on July 26, 1999.