On the third day of his Orissa tour on Sunday, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi visited a NALCO plant in Angul in Orissa and spent time with workers and their families, listening to their demands.
Rahul, who visited the PSU aluminium manufacturing unit, which was on the verge of privatisation during the NDA regime, received a grand welcome.
The Amethi MP went inside the plant to understand its working and to interact with workers.
As he was making his way, one worker Deepak Behera insisted that Rahul visit his home and meet his family at the nearby plant colony.
Rahul relented and accompanied the Dalit worker, who was on the shop floor. He spent substantial time in the plant's colony and held separate discussions with the staff and their families.
Behera said he talked directly to Rahul without any middlemen. This proves that there are still leaders who listen to workers' views, he said, adding the class should recognise workers who are the backbone of the nation's growth.
Later, Rahul also participated in a football match in a nearby village and held meetings with tribal boys and girls aspiring to be hockey players at a field there. Rahul appreciated the zeal of the local youth, who make hockey sticks from tree branches collected from forests. They practise the game barefoot.
Orissa has a distinction of producing more than three dozen international hockey players for the country.
Visiting the Pamposh Sports Hostel on in Rourkela, he had promised all help to promote the game and the players of the region.
In his interaction with inmates of the hostel, the inmates had informed Rahul about the lack of basic facilities and inadequate employment opportunities hindering the growth of sports, leading to many talented players quitting the game.
After a 30-minute meeting with players he said, "I have something in my head. I will do that."
Security has been beefed up along the route of Gandhi's visit and special combing drive has been initiated by the police in the Sukinda valley in Jajpur district following intelligence inputs of Naxal movement in the area.
Rahul is slated to address a rally at Tanikoeli in the district on Monday.
Rahul has been interacting with people of different sections in the state and held a night-long meeting with tribals in the region on Thursday night.