Rayagada: The residents in the tribal-dominated Khilmisguda village under Sadar block of this district have to risk their lives while crossing the Nagavali river to avail healthcare and education services at Jemadeipentha, as there is no bridge across the river, a report said.
In fact, they remain disconnected from the outer world for days together during the monsoon in the absence of a bridge across the river. In case of emergency, they do not mind risking their lives to cross the river and avail the services which are essential for their daily survival.
Reports said the state government has been taking a host of measures for the development of the tribal-dominated regions of the state. However, these developmental initiatives are still a far cry in many remote pockets, locals rued. The plight of Khilmisguda village under Kereda panchayat of Sadar block is a case in point.
The state government had given its approval for the construction of a bridge across Nagavali by signing an agreement with a contractor March 8, 2019. The high-level bridge was planned at an outlay of Rs 12 crore for a 0.7-km stretch from Sheshkhal to Khilmisguda. A tender was floated for the purpose and contractor Seemanchal Nimalpuri was awarded the contract.
The project implemented by the Rural Development department was scheduled to be completed by March 7, 2021. However, the construction of the bridge is only halfway with the contractor having built only two roofs of the bridge. Meanwhile, the contractor has abandoned the project.
While students are finding it difficult to attend their schools, people are seen carrying patients and pregnant women on slings and wade through the river to reach the hospitals on the other side of the river. “The situation is frightful as well as painful when someone falls sick or if a pregnant woman experiences labour pain at night,” said villagers Kamala Chandra and Manoj Kumar Tadingi.
They alleged that there is no one to listen to their plights when the state government is insisting on completion of every developmental project within the deadline under 5T initiative.
When contacted, chief executive officer, the rural works division, Pradipta Kumar Mohanty said the contractor is delaying the work for which a proposal has been given to the state government to assign the work to some other agency by floating a fresh tender.
It is alleged that the villagers are paying a heavy price as the project work has been affected by apathy of the rural works division and the contractor’s whimsical way of working.
In this situation, nobody here knows when the fresh tender will be floated and the bridge completed, the report added.