Rafts lone means for kids to reach school

Khantapada, July 13: Even seven decades after Independence, many villages are still reeling under backwardness while life is a daily struggle for the inhabitants in the absence of basic amenities.

Kamalagadiapahi, a coastal village in Remuna block of Balasore district, is one such village, where school children cross a river with the help of rafts on a daily basis.

About 42 families live in the village, detached from the rest of the world by river Kantiachira. Many families live on fishing while some migrated to other states in search of work.

The major problem for the residents is lack of road connectivity. Kantiachira, which originates from Nilagiri hills and merges with the Bay of Bengal at Jamuka, has been a main hurdle for them.

Locals say crossing the river has been a daily struggle, especially for kids and elderly. They have to go across the river for purchasing rations, attending schools and receiving pensions.

“In the absence of boating facilities, we use floating machines of prawn farmers or rafts to cross the river. Patients and pregnant women also have to go through the same ordeal,” villagers said, adding the nearest hospital is 7 km away from the village.

In many cases, critical patients die due to delay in providing them medical attention, they said.

In the rainy season, students skip schools as they can’t go across the swelling river. The villagers face a lot of difficulties as they fail to venture out of the village.  

There were many instances of people having died after being swept away by the river while crossing it, some locals said.

The villagers have other problems too. The government has not yet provided them land pattas.

“All that we have got are voter identity cards and ration cards, that too only meant to be used as vote banks for local leaders,” the villagers lamented.

Villagers Narayan Das, Laxmikant Das and Rajkumar Bag demanded a bridge across the river so that their perennial commuting problem could be solved.

Talapada sarpanch Sasmita Das said provision of launch service will be made while a road will be laid from the riverbank to Inchudi under the MGNREGS.

Remuna BDO Basant Kumar Mallick said boat facility will be made available soon. He has submitted a report to the collector regarding this, Mallick added. PNN

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