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Rashmi Rekha Das

Even though the Odisha government has been boasting about its various infrastructure projects, healthcare facilities, better road connectivity and many more, the ground reality in interior pockets of the State tells a complete story altogether. In a glaring instance of government apathy, the residents of Taperikia village under K Nuagaon block in Kandhamal district have to construct a temporary bridge over Kalipenu river on their own after their repeated request to construct a bridge yielded no results.

Even after urging the state government several times for the construction of a bridge over the river, their requests failed to yield any results. In the absence of a bridge, they used to cross the swelling river during monsoon. The district administration’s failure to construct the bridge finally prompted these villagers to come up with a temporary bridge at their own expense. 

When road connectivity is believed to be a basic indicator of development, then Taperikia village here has little to show.  As the administration did nothing to alleviate their suffering, the locals finding no other go had to construct a temporary bridge by collecting donations from each villager.  

According to sources, this hanging bridge is only medium to reach other villages and towns. Starting from children to elderly people depend on the bridge. During rainy season, it becomes a lifeline for the residents of Patrasahi, Purunasahi and Dagakala villages apart from Taperikia residents. As many as 400 people depend on the bridge to get connected with the outer world.

Revati Mallick, a student says, “The state government has turned a deaf ear to our plight despite repeated pleas. If a student gets slipped, he will get into the river."

Bipin Bihari Pradhan, a villager said, “It took one and half month to construct the bridge. We had to collect donations from each villager to construct the bridge. It would be difficult for us to take patients to the hospital in the absence of this bridge. Though we made requests in this regard, the government did not come to our rescue.”

Anganwadi worker Sujata Mallick said, “We wrote to the government, district administration and Block Development Officer but our request is yet to be heard. We fail to access Anganwadi food due to communication problem.”

Block Development Officer Sarat Kumar Patra said, “During rainy season villagers have to sufferdue to communication problem. I took the matter to district Collector who discussed it with executive engineer. The matter will be resolved soon.”

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