Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Odisha government has been touting all-round development of the tribal population in the State. However, the ground realities are a sharp contradiction. Basic amenities elude people in many remote tribal villages negating the tall claims of the government. 

Guriguda village under Antaraba Gram Panchayat at Mohana block in Gajapati district is a perceptible example of such deprivation and apathy.

This remote village, which is home to around 48 tribal families, lies marooned and cut off from the rest of the world in the absence of even a usable goat track, forget motorable road, while drinking water and communication network is still a distant dream.

Belying the tall claims of the government of providing better road connectivity to remote nook and corners of the State, the four kilometre long ghat road which could join the human habitation with the world outside lies in a dilapidated and non-motorable condition for a long time. The villagers can hardly use the pedestrian path running alongside the road by navigating through the potholes and blunt rocks.

“We have to cross the four kilometre long ghat road to move out of our village in order to have any kind of communication with the outside world. However, the road is in a dangerous condition and communication is a frightful experience,” said Samuel Badaraita, a villager.

“Even during medical emergencies, ambulance cannot reach our village and it always poses a risk for patients to reach hospital in time,” he said.

Though a few metres of the road have been repaired in 2019-20 under CFCA scheme, the rest of the road still remains bumpy and dilapidated.

“We demand the construction of the ghat road under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana,” said a villager.

The villagers are also fighting for access to the basic survival need of safe drinking water. The village does not have a tube-well and a solar run water lifting project is the only source of potable water for them. However, the facility has long been lying defunct and abandoned.

“We are forced to collect water from a well which is situated more than half a kilometre away from the village. In rainy season, it is very difficult to fetch water from the well by crossing the dilapidated and dangerous ghat road,” said Sabita Gamanga, another villager.

“We have time and again apprised the authorities about our ordeal but our requests have fallen on deaf ears,” a local resident alleged.

Meanwhile, when informed, the BDO of Mohana, Sarthak Sourabh Mohapatra said he will look into the matter and take appropriate steps soon.

“After getting a field report, I will decide about a feasible plan to repair the ghat road and set up drinking water facility in the remote village,” said Mohapatra.