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Rashmi Ranjan

With the three-tier panchayat elections in Odisha likely to be held early next year, the residents of five villages in Koraput district are hell-bent on boycotting the voting process if their demands including the construction of a bridge over Kharasrota Poda river are not met.

According to sources, construction of a bridge over Kharasrota Poda river has been a long-standing demand of the residents of the five villages coming under Gilliguma Panchayat. However, they claimed that all their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

"We have been demanding a bridge over the river as we face many difficulties while communicating to other places. We had met the local MLA who assured us to look into our demand soon. If our demands are not met at the earliest, will boycott the elections," said Narendra Bisoi, a local.

In the absence of any permanent solution, the villagers have constructed a temporary wooden bridge and using it as a daily means of transportation by risking their lives. 

"We are facing many problems while going to school. Many students often fall and suffer injuries while going through the wooden bridge," said Basanti Bisoi, a student.

"No one paid any heed to our plight. Finding no other option, we constructed a temporary bridge on our own," said Suka Kumar,” said a resident.

Reacting to allegations brought by the villagers, Laxmipur MLA Prabhu Jani said, "A letter has been sent to the district collector and it has been approved. A bridge, with an estimated expenditure of Rs 1.5 crore will be constructed soon,"

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