Former Schoolteacher Survives On Roadside Begging In Odisha’s Khurda

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Bhubaneswar: The hand that once held chalks to teach students English and Odia now holds a begging bowl for survival.

Meet Prafulla Kumar Mishra, a former teacher of Balakati High School in Khurda’s Balianta block, who now survives on donations from passers-by. With diminishing eyesight and hearing, Mishra can be sitting in tatters on NH-16 close to the Khurda Collector’s office.

According to locals, he was appointed as a teacher by the managing committee of Balakati High School in 1980.

The government took over the school in 1990 and the new managing committee allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs 1.5 lakh from him to retain his job. He was unable to pay the money and consequently kicked out of the school.

After losing his job, Mishra started taking private tuitions to earn a living. But he had to give up on this option too when he started losing his eyesight. It was then that Mishara started begging for survival.

“Many of my students are well established now. Some are doctors, engineers and collectors. Without basic amenities and a roof over my head, I am leading a very miserable life,” Mishra said in a choked voice with tears rolling down his cheeks.

Once, one of his former students, who became a collector, had provided him an assistance of Rs 10,000 from the Red Cross fund.

Moved by his plight, locals have demanded the administration to provide a house to Mishra.

“He has been begging on the highway for a long time. As far as we know, he is a graduate. If the government can include his name in a pension scheme, then he can live peacefully at this critical age,” a local said.

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