Neglect, deprivation mark tribal village

Raisuan: Contrary to the government’s claims that rural development is a priority, lack of basic facilities in remote pockets speaks volumes about the sordid state of the locals.

A case in point is Patapani, a village in Phaljhar panchayat under tribal-dominated Bansapal block of Keonjhar district.

The village is plagued by a host of problems like absence of road connectivity, drinking water facility, education, healthcare, and other basic facilities.

On seeing the sorry state of Patapani, one would agree the welfare schemes of the government have not reached this far-off village where people have no option but to drink water from pits and streams.

According to a report, the village is three km away from the panchayat headquarters. People walk three km on a ridge amid farmlands on a daily basis. The village is dotted with thatched shanties posing questions on the implementation of housing schemes.

“Over 70 years have passed since Independence. Many governments have come and gone, but none laid a road to the village or made provision of safe drinking water as yet,” some villagers lamented.

Narrating their plight, the villagers said their problems multiply in the rainy season when they are confined to the village and fail to venture out for rations or other necessities. The village gets detached from the rest of the world, they pointed out.

“An Anganwadi centre and a school are three km away from the village. When it rains, kids skip school as the farmland ridge gets sleek with mud and water,” villagers said.

Social security programmes have been a dream for a majority of the elderly, widows and differently abled persons of the village.

As healthcare is out of reach for the people, they depend on sorcerers, witch doctors, traditional healers and branding for treatment of sick people and children. It was leant that if children fall sick, they are subjected to branding in 90 per cent of the cases.

In the absence of hospitals in the peripheral areas, women are deprived of institutional delivery. “Women either deliver in cowsheds or goat sheds,” locals said.

Locals have no idea about Mamata Yojana for pregnant women.

Social activist Sanjay Sahu said that the village has been deprived of basic facilities and there has been no change in the socio-economic condition of the tribals.

Locals had drawn the administration’s attention to their plight several times in the past, but to no avail.      PNN

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