Khajuripada/Balaskumpa: Life has been rather hard for people of Ranjakumpa under Khajuripada block of Kandhamal district. Almost every day, they risk their lives while the crossing Pilasalunki water reservoir in rickety boats.
For them, all basic facilities – road, drinking water, and education, healthcare – are a dream when they have been facing commuting problems throughout the year in the absence of a bridge, report said.
Locals say, the government spends crores of rupees for development of rural pockets in the name of Ama Gaon, Ama Bikash, but their village is deprived of it. There are several other villages in the area that have been suffering from lack of basic facilities.
According to the report, Ranjakumpa village is 20 km from Phulbani and 8 km from the block office. The village surrounded by a forest on one side and the Pilasalunki reservoir on the other, leaves no space for communication.
The village is inhabited by 10 families, but life is always fraught with risk in this treacherous region as dreaming development is a difficult proposition, they lamented. A county boat is the only means of communication for the villagers to move out and into the village on a daily basis.
The village has no school. Their kids have to go to Pipal Sahi primary school in Nuagaon panchayat. The school has been closed for poor students’ strength.
Across the dam is Chhandurupadar Anganwadi centre. “Taking the small kids to the Anganwadi centre in boats across the dam is a risky job. We always fear for mishaps. No one can say what will happen here,” the villagers rued.
In case of medical emergency or fire mishaps, ambulance and fire tenders are unable to get access to the village in the absence of a road.
“Patients or expectant mothers are carried on cots to the reservoir and then in boats across the dam. If ambulance is available across the dam, it is easy to take the patients to nearby hospital.
If it is not available, patients are carried on cots to the hospital,” said villagers like Ranjulata Nayak, Mamata Nayak and Ushrani Nayak.
The only source of drinking water in the village is a well, which goes dry in summer, leaving us in difficulty, they added. In that case, the only option is to feed on the dam water.
Though the villagers have taken up their issues with people’s representatives and the administration, no step had been taken to sort out the issues, they added.
“Without basic facilities like road, and drinking water and education (for our kids), we are living a cursed life surrounded by forest and reservoir,” they bemoaned.
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