Bangriposi: Villagers in Bangriposi block of Mayurbhanj district access basic services like education and healthcare by passing a makeshift rocky path on the local river which is the only link for them to stay connected with the urban areas.
Several villagers on other side of the Burbhabalang river use this link exposing themselves to the risk of crossing a river to reach educational institutions, hospitals and other emergency services close to Bangriposi highway and Baripada town to shorten their travel time.
Villagers in the area claim that while the concrete bridge near Shyamsundarpur village could be used to cross the river, it means covering an additional 7 km. Many students, traders, wage labourers and even patients prefer the makeshift link to save time.
“This comes as a boon for many villagers who want to reach places like colleges, hospitals and other important destinations. Taking the Shyamsundarpur bridge adds around 7 km of extra distance which no villager wants to take unless they have a motor bike or a car,” Kumar Kapilash, a resident of Bangriposi told Orissa POST.
Kapilash said around a month ago a woman from a nearby village was carried on a cot and their families took them through this rocky route because of a medical emergency but she died. Several medical emergency cases and other daily needs compel poor villagers to take the tough terrain, without caring they could face accidents midway.
A visit to the bridge site by this correspondent revealed that not only college students but pets, women, traders, daily wage earners with cycles on their shoulders cross the flowing river. After crossing the river, they first reach Sasrapal village and later take public rides or walk on roads to reach Bangriposi, 5 km from the riverside.
“This is our daily affair. We take cycles on our shoulder and cross the river to go to other places for our construction related works. Sometimes it is risky and a few people slip from the rocks and get injured. But people refrain from taking long routes,” Balaram Munda, a villager from Chuapani on the other side of the river, said. According to Nayak, villagers from four villages namely Kusumanbandh, Sarisupal, Brahmangaon, Chuapani and Chakdi often take this route for their daily needs.
Many college students take this route to reach colleges near Bangriposi as there are no colleges on the other side of the river. Villagers told this newspaper that during monsoon when the water level in the river rises, villagers shun using this route. They resume using it only when the water level recedes.