Development is still a far cry in Maniari village under Bhanjanagar block in Odisha’s Ganjam district. Even though the State Government claims to have introduced a slew of welfare schemes for villages, those have failed to benefit people in this village. The ground reality is villagers in this remote area are still deprived of the basic amenities.
Maniari village, surrounded by dense forest, is an example of deprivation and backwardness. The village, which is home to 15 families, lacks access to essential amenities like electricity, potable water and road connectivity.
In absence of a road to the village, people face a lot of hardships for daily commute and access to outside world. Locals said even ambulances fail to reach the village during medical emergency in the absence of a motorable road. The winding mud path which they use to commute gets slushy and even submerged during monsoon, and the village becomes an island, cutoff from the rest of the world.
“Due to poor road connectivity, our children face a lot of difficulties while going to school. Ambulances fail to reach the village during medical emergency and patients are often carried to the nearby hospital on cots,” said Banka Malika, a villager.
Even the village does not have access to electricity while potable drinking water is a far cry. The villagers are forced to fetch unsafe water from other sources. They walk a few kilometres every day to fetch water from puddles and streams.
“We drink water from pits and streams as we have no other option. This has resulted in large number of skin diseases and diarrhea cases among villagers. Our plight worsens during summer when natural water sources dries up,” said Jamuna Malika, another villager.
The villagers claimed to have brought the matter to the notice of the local administration on several occasions in the past. However, nothing has happened so far. The hamlet remains as neglected and forgotten as always.
“We have informed the local administration including the village Sarpanch about our problems several times, but it has fallen in deaf ears. They have given us only false assurances. No official has ever visited the village and asked us about our condition,” lamented Bijaylaxmi Malika, a villager.