A visually impaired person named Niranjan Behera from Paralakhemundi town in Gajapati district has been selected as Best Individual for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities' (PWDs) and will receive the national award from President Ram Nath Kovind on December 3 on the International Day of pwds.
Behera became blind at the age of 8 in an accident while he was studying at Aurobinda Government UP. School managed by Parlakhemundi Municipality. He studied up to Class 10 at Mahendragiri High School, but could not succeed in his matriculation examination on account of his 100 per cent blindness. Failure could not stop him from his zeal to work for the poor. In 2004, a local voluntary organisation called Centre for Community Development (CCD) recognised Behera's talent and enthuse him to work for the cause of the disabled by joining CCD Behera participated in a National leadership Camp in NTPC Noida organised by SABAL Center of action aid Bengaluru and prepared himself to fight for the rights of the disabled.
He became the state coordinator of 'Odisha Bikalanga Manch' in the year 2010 and nominated to the post of its presidentship in the year 2012 He made legislative advocacy for the functioning of an independent disability commissioner in Odisha. Due to his efforts, the State Government has approved his recommendation and provided 10 kg of rice per month to every individual PWD in the During the last cyclonic storm Titli, Behera also lost his house and now staying under a polythene roof. While congratulating him on his achievements, the District Magistrate of Gajapati Anupam Saha said, He is really an inspiration for all of PWDs. As per the Government scheme, he will be allotted a house to solve his problems'.