Rafts as only means of communication

Balasore: When elections come, about 60 families living Kalamgadia and Talapada villages under Remuna block in this district have a tough time in negotiating with a hilly foot-track and crossing Kantiachira river to come to polling booths.
This time, over 300 voters are reluctant to cast their votes over this reason.
According to reports, the two villages, 45 km away from the district headquarters, are isolated by the river, which emerges from Debagiri hill.

Their lives are virtually a daily struggle in the absence of a bridge or proper road connectivity, a demand which has remained unfulfilled even after 70 years of Independence.

Under these circumstances, ambulance service is a distant dream, villagers said.
“We have to walk 4 km through farmland before coming to the banks of Kantiachira. Again crossing the river is a tough job when no boat is operated here. The only means of crossing the river is either a raft made of logs or plantain logs. Only two to three people can set afloat by using their hands as oars,” the villagers lamented.

Using such means of communication has been a regular affair for children of the village venturing out to study in a school across the river, they added.
“How can we go to vote in such a situation? Why should we vote when we do not have even the basic facility of communication? The administration is doing nothing. If there is no conveyance facility, we may not be able to vote. We have been facing such hardship during every election,” said Biman Chandra Bag, a local.

“Every day, we cross the river by raft. Most of the time, we get late and teachers express their displeasure. It is too difficult to go to school in the rainy season,” said Dipanjali Mandal, a class-VII student.

Sarpanch Anirudha Prasad Das said though the issue was taken up with the district administration several time in the past, the problem has not been sorted out.
Sub-collector Ramchandra Palta said, “The issue has not been come to their notice. We will make provision of boats to bring voters. A permanent means of communication will be made available soon.” PNN

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