Joda: The State Highway-20 from Jurudi to Bansapani is a lifeline for mineral transportation in Keonjhar district. The road is in bad shape and has turned into a deathtrap with frequent accidents. Traffic snarls have also added to commuting woes on the road.
Thousands of trucks and dumpers transport minerals on the road on a daily basis.
Locals alleged that mining firms, mineral transport agencies and contractors hardly bother about repairing the road, but continue to transport minerals.
All along this stretch, the SH-20 is full of huge craters and potholes. Bikers, motorists and truckers have to face accidents on the road. Travel is a nightmare for the people of Jajanga, Jurudi, Jalhari, Palasa and Kalimati under Joda block and scores of villages under Jhumpura block.
“Thousands of trucks carry minerals from Jurudi, Bansapani and Nayagad rail siding every day, but no step is being taken to repair it,” lamented local residents Natha Mohanty, Bira Pentei, Sher Mohammed and Madhu Mahala.
Owing to traffic jams, buses, and school vans were seen getting stuck for hours. Children often go late to schools and return home late. Worse, patients going in ambulances lay stranded for hours despite emergency.
In dry season, the area remains polluted due to clouds of dust rising from the road and in the rainy season commuting woes worsen with water poodles and craters.
Locals had submitted a memorandum to the collector seeking repair of the road. As nothing had been done, they also took up the issue at the collector’s grievance hearing.
Upset over the issue, locals have warned of an agitation soon.
A construction agency was awarded the renovation work of the road for 13 km from Bamebari to Bansapani and Rs 37 crore has been sanctioned from the District Mineral Foundation (DMF). The work was supposed to be over by 2020. However, only 20 per cent of the work has been completed.
Asked about the slow pace of the road renovation, junior engineer of the construction company, Himansu Choudhary said the district administration has not yet completed land acquisition.
Besides, electricity poles along the road are to be removed while pipelines are being shifted, said Choudhary.