Jumpura: Kendughati in tribal-dominated Bansapal block of Keonjhar district was in the news October 16, 2019 when the villagers sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi through the district administration seeking road connectivity and a bridge across river Baitarani. Orissa Post has reported their plight a couple of times earlier.
The villagers have been facing the commuting problem for the past seven decades without remedy.
The villagers took up the issue with the district administration Tuesday. SHG members Sulochana Dehury, Jhili Dehury, Saraswati Giri, Shal Dehury, Rebati Naik, Basmati Dehury, Urbasi Dehury, Padmavati Naik, Sukanti Naik and Nukhuri Naik met District Collector Ashish Thakre over their commuting woes.
“Even after running from pillar to post, the authorities took no measures to lay a road or build a bridge to resolve the commuting problem,” they lamented.
Geographically, the Phuljhar panchayat is surrounded by rivers Baitarani and Manda. The Mayurnachuni hill and a forest spreading over miles surround the village.
Over 1,000 tribals reside in the village. But they have to face commuting problems while going to the panchayat, block and district headquarters.
“In monsoon, when rivers are in spate, we are confined to the village. Life becomes horribly miserable without contact with the rest of the world. In other days, the only means of communication is country boats. Schoolchildren, patients and people carrying PDS material have to depend on the boats every day,” they rued.
Though they have drawn the attention of the block and the district administrations towards the need for road connectivity and a bridge, no step is being taken in this direction, added the villagers.
In the absence of roads, ambulance service is inaccessible to the village. Patients and pregnant women are ferried across the river in rickety boats and then have to be carried about 1 km on a kutcha road to reach to the ambulance.
“Boat journey is always fraught with dangers of drowning,” they narrated.
During the monsoons, the village is surrounded by floodwaters. In view of the perennial commuting problem, people refuse to give their daughters in marriage in this village, lamented the villagers.
The government has been spending crores of rupees for development of tribals, but in this case the government has ignored development, alleged villagers.
The tribal residents have been struggling to make a livelihood when their only means of earning is minor forest produce. The area is also prone to malaria while children here are allegedly malnourished.
They urged the administration to build a bridge, which can solve a number of other problems.