Kakatpur: Five villages of Shishua panchayat under Astarang block here may finally be connected to the mainland by a bridge and its residents will no longer have to depend on the wooden boats they have been used to for years.
Rural development department executive engineer Debashish Padhee said a survey had been conducted to study the feasibility of constructing a bridge at Sishua. “We will soon send a proposal in this regard to the government,” Padhee said.
These are words of immense hope for the 2000 plus residents of the five coastal villages — Tandahar, Udayakani, Chhenua, Katakana and Kalamkani for whom the wooden boats are the only means of communication.
The five villages are separated from the rest of the world by Kadua and Prachi rivers and boats are the only available means to reach block, tehsil, police station and other government offices at Astarang.
Many children of these villages also cross the rivers by boats to attend classes at schools in Bantilo and Astarang.
“The state government is yet to construct a bridge to connect our locality with the mainland. We have no other option but to cross the rivers by boats,” rued villager Hata Mallick of Tandahar.
According to villagers, they face extreme difficulties during rainy season. “The boat service remains suspended during heavy rain and floods. So, we face a tough time to reach the mainland. The administration should deploy a mechanised boat to ferry our school-going children,” said villager Rohita Parida.
The villagers claimed that they have urged the authorities concerned to build a bridge in the locality but to no avail.
Astarang panchayat samiti chairperson Swadhin Kumar Nayak said they would soon urge the state government to construct a bridge under the Biju Setu Yojana to connect the five villages with the mainstream. “We are also taking steps to deploy a mechanised boat at Shishua panchayat to ferry the villages,” he added.
Hata Mallick, Rohita Parida and Swadhin Nayak can now look forward to Padhee sending the proposal for a bridge to the state government and hope the latter would act upon it at the earliest.