Jajpur: Following the state government’s announcement to take up Nagada as an ‘ideal village’ after a large number of children died from malnutrition in July 2016, it was decided on priority basis to construct a kutcha road in order to facilitate road connectivity to the village.
However, the ambitious road project at Nagada village under Sukinda block in Jajpur district, as it seems, may not see limelight in the days ahead. Same is also the fate of infrastructure development here.
A district level report of Jajpur Rural Development department has revealed that constructing a pucca road to Nagada village is not possible. RD department has expressed that population of the villages is very low according to 2001 census and hence a pucca road cannot be constructed under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.
The department has also mentioned in its report that, Nagada village comes under forest area. Nagada villagers resented such absurd statistical information which dates back to nearly 20 years.
As per plans, the proposed 7.66 km-long kutcha road connecting to Nagada village was constructed from Naliadaba area on the foothills of Ashokajhar passing through Badanagada, Majhinagada and stretching up to Talanagada. Rs 12.95 crore was spent on this road construction project from the district mineral foundation (DMF) funds.
Notably, most of the villagers are Juanga tribals. Construction work of the kutcha road was assigned to a contract firm named Higreeva Infrastructure 10 November, 2016. The contract firm was asked to carry out construction work as per guidelines of Forest and Environment department vide its letter (No.-8047/23.08.2016).
State Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Welfare department had sanctioned funds of Rs 2 crore and DMF had sanctioned funds of Rs 12.81 crore for the purpose.
However, Higreeva was given contract for Rs 12.95 crore only. Even as the kutcha road was completed in 31 July, 2017, the road has become dilapidated within a very short span of time.
“Murram layer from the kutcha road has run down in the meanwhile, thereby rendering the road inaccessible and unsuitable for local commuters. The villagers had demanded through e-grievance before Jajpur Rural Development department chief engineer for constructing a pucca road instead,” some Nagada villagers expressed.
A complaint is pending at Lokayukta alleging low quality road construction work that has been done here. After getting e-grievance from Nagada villagers, the chief engineer had sought an investigation report from his subordinate executive engineer Bijay Kumar Maharana.
Accordingly, the executive engineer has reported that Nagada village comprises Badanagada, Majhinagada and Talanagada areas of Chingudipal panchayat under Sukinda block in Jajpur district.
Notably, as per the 2001 census Nagada had a population of only 231 persons. According to central government guidelines, the population of a village should at least be around 250 in order to be included under PMGSY for the purpose of constructing a pucca road.
The report of RD department adds on saying that the entire region comes under Daitari forest range. For obvious reasons, it appears that kutcha road is the only option available for villagers of Nagada.
Erstwhile Principal Secretary of state Health and Family Welfare department Arati Ahuja had visited Nagada 13 July, 2016. In sharp contrast to RD department’s report, Ahuja had reported to the state government that the total population of Nagada village was 295.
Badanagada had a population of 61 villagers, Majhinagada had 72 and Talanagada had 162 persons, her report revealed.