Raisuan: People crossing Baitarani in creaky boats risking their lives is a routine sight at forested and tribal-dominated Kendughati village in Phulajhar panchayat under Bansapal block of Keonjhar district.
Villagers bemoaned, they have been suffering commuting woes over years sans a bridge while the district generates a huge amount of funds for district mineral fund foundation.
Many villages in the district are being connected with pucca roads funded by the district mineral fund foundation, but the village is deprived of a bridge, they lamented.
The river Baitarani has been a curse for them even as the river is said to be the lifeline of the district.
Over 2,000 people live in Kendughati and other villages which is surrounded by the river Baitarani and Malda rivers from three sides and a hill on the other side.
Since the village is situated in a hilly area, a little shower can bring the rivers to their brims.
The panchayat office and markets are on the other side of the rivers. The residents get PDS rice and other provisions from the panchayat office and buy daily needs from markets.
To reach the panchayat office and markets, these villagers have to wade through water in dry seasons. But in the rainy season, crossing the rivers becomes an arduous task.
Residents lamented, “Our difficulties worsen in the monsoon, when we need to go to panchayat office, hospital and marketplace. We cross the river by the rickety country boat.”
“It is always risky to use rickety boats to cross the rivers particularly when they are in spate. We have been leading a wretched life for years. The government has been constructing roads and bridges under various schemes. But we are not lucky as our pleas have fallen on deaf ears,” others alleged.
The rivers also pose a threat to their farmlands as the floodwater gets their agricultural land sand cast and damage crops.
They have long been urging the government to mitigate their sufferings by constructing a bridge to their village.
It may be noted here that Rs 8.22 crore was sanctioned from the DMF for a bridge across Baitarani in 2017, but the project remained a non-starter due to political and administrative apathy.