Rashmi Rekha Das

Even though the Odisha government has launched several schemes to alleviate the suffering of women and facilitate safe motherhood, expectant mothers in tribal pockets of the State continue to take the brunt of infrastructural woes.

In a clear case of bureaucratic apathy, a pregnant woman had to cross flooded Chhabera river with the help of a cooking pot by risking her life at Dambaturunji village under Boriguma block in Koraput district on Thursday. 

The residents of Dambaturunji helped a pregnant woman cross the flooded river on a cooking vessel due to lack of a bridge. 

According to sources, Dambaturunji village does not have proper road connectivity. The district administration had started construction of a bridge five years back. As the construction work of the bridge is still hanging fire, villagers are forced to cross the river by risking their lives on a daily basis. The situation even worsens during rainy days.

Pramila Harijan, a health worker, said, “We had come to bring that expecting mother to hospital.  She was made to swim with the help of the utensil to cross river. After crossing the river, she was taken to the hospital in a van. Vehicles cannot reach this village during rainy days due to lack of communication.”

Trinath Muduli, a local school teacher said, “People of this region have to suffer for three months during rainy season every year. It’s a routine affair for them. However, residents help pregnant women to cross the river. Though I am afraid of seeing a swollen river, I have no other choice but to cross the river.”

Kumulu Taikiri, a resident, said “Though a bridge construction work was started five years back, it is yet to see light of the day. As a result, pregnant women are made to cross the river by risking their life. Though expecting women face such situation on regular basis, the administration is yet to take this seriously.”