Gumma: Over 70 years have passed since independence, but people of Barusigh, a village on a hilltop under Gumma block of Gajapati district, are living in misery as they are deprived of basic facilities and benefits of welfare schemes over years, a report said.
According to local residents, the village derives its name from its geographical location – in tribal dialect, Baru means hill and Sing means house. So Barusingh means hilltop house. Over generations, people of tribal communities belonging to 35 families have been living here.
“There is neither road connectivity nor electricity. It seems we are leading a life in the dark. Drinking water is an issue here. If one wants to drink water then the person has to go downhill to get water from a well,” villagers said.
People usually depend on a hill stream. “In summer, finding water is a difficult proposition as the stream dries up. To get five litres of water, one has to wait for hours to collect it,” they pointed out.
In monsoon, life becomes more difficult when foot tracks in the hill become slippery. At times, landslides make life more difficult.
Finding healthcare in the hilltop terrain is a dream. In emergency cases, pregnant women and patients are carried on cots for five km downhill till Gaiba village. From there, the patients are either taken in bus or hired vehicles to Paralakhemundi hospital.
It was learnt that the DRDA had made an attempt to lay a road in 2018-19 to the village. An amount of Rs 6,00,000 was sanctioned from the Odisha State Disaster Mitigation Fund for the road. After the cyclonic storm ‘Titli’, the condition of the road turned worse.
“The villagers has repeatedly been urging the administration to repair the road, but to no avail. After sunset, wild animals finds way into houses. So people remain indoors after sunset,” lamented villagers like Biswanth Raita, Ijikel Raita, Disa Raita and Premananda Raita.
Five years ago, utility poles were pitched in the village to supply electricity. But the work has not progressed beyond that.
Sushant Kumar Acharya, an official of the energy department, said that the contractor had undertaken the electrification work in 2015, but since then he has disappeared.