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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Over one thousand villagers of Gunjibadi Panchayat under Kandhamal’s K.Nuagaon block have to put their lives at risk while crossing the Bagadi river to avail basic amenities like education and healthcare on a daily basis as the dream of a bridge still eludes them.

As per reports, the locals of Bagadi, Badali, Srakapanga, Minamilu, Madiraha, Pudripada, Sugamaha and Bandisapadara villages under the Panchayat have to wade through waist-deep water to cross the Bagadi river which does not have a bridge over it for the commuters to pass.

The demand for a bridge grows shriller every rainy season when the river spates and raging currents make it impossible for the people to cross it. Sans a bridge, they take the help of a cable tied on two trees at both ends of the river and cross it holding on to the cable.

Bhuteswar Burgi, a local who has to endure a perilous journey to cross the river every day for work, said, “From Anganwadi centre to college and daily market, everything is on the other side of the river. Even though we adults could somehow manage to cross the river, it becomes too hazardous for the children to go to school in these conditions.”

Isma Pradhan, a college student who rued the absence of a bridge, urged the government to construct one so that she does not miss her classes more often.

As per sources, the villagers have been demanding to construct a bridge on the river for years but no authorities have allegedly ever paid heed to their plight.

Snigdharani Burgi, a Ward Member from Bagadi alleged, “We have been urging the authorities for a bridge since ages. But neither, the officers nor the public representatives seem to have any sympathy for us.”

Speaking to the media, the K.Nuagaon Block Development Officer (BDO), Sarat Kumar Patra said, “The government has felt the importance of a bridge on the river. We have already informed the Minister and we will try to build a bridge on the river as soon as possible.”

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