Mrunal Manmay Dash

The residents of Padunbadi in Raikia block of Kandhamal district have threatened to boycott the upcoming general election if their village does not get safe drinking water facilities and electricity connections.

Their protest came after their pleas for years to the district administration and politicians to connect their village with electricity and drinking water yielded no fruit.

“It’s been 76 years since we got independence from the British raj, but our village still does not have basic amenities like electricity and drinking water. We have been requesting to the administration since many decades, but nobody seems to care for us. We are tired of requesting them for something which should be provided by the government without even asking for that,” said a resident of Padunbadi village.

Another villager said, “We have applied to the electricity office at G Udaygiri, energy department in Bhubaneswar. We have met the MLA, even Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik through his Private secretary VK Pandian. But the only thing we got was assurance. We have decided to shun the next elections if the government does not listen to us this time.”

Apart from the male members, the female members of the village too are suffering a lot due to lack of adequate drinking water. They are forced to trek a long way to fetch water from streams in the jungle and by digging up near the stream, it was alleged.

“The situation goes from bad to worse during monsoon. The water gets dirty and muddy. The path leading up to the water source through the farmlands becomes unwalkable. People get ill and infected with various diseases because of dirty water,” rued a woman at the village.