Pradeep Pattanayak

Despite the fact that the Naveen Patnaik government is in power in Odisha for over two decades now, development has still been a mirage in several villages of different districts. 

Binjharpur and Bari blocks in Jajpur district and Bhuban block in Dhenkanal district are cases in point. 

Binjharpur and Bari blocks are on the two sides of Chingudia rivulet. People from villages of Binjharpur side go to the other side on a regular basis to get their several works done. So are the villagers of Bari block. In the rainy season, the problems get aggravated. 

They have been demanding a bridge across the rivulet so that their communication would be easier. Five years ago, the construction work on the bridge started, but by fits and starts. Now the bridge is lying half-constructed, giving rise to resentment among the villagers.

Fed up with the government's apathy, the villagers joined hands and constructed a bamboo bridge over the rivulet. 

“We have been demanding for a bridge over the rivulet but to no avail. The concrete bridge is lying half-constructed. So, we contributed as per our capacity and built the temporary bridge,” said Priyakant Samal, a villager. 

When contacted, ADM Jajpur, Akshay Mallik said, “The bridge was constructed by the people. The administration will take steps to replace the temporary bridge with a permanent one.”

The fate of people living in Nilakanthapur village (Martyr Baji Rout’s village) under Bhuban block in Dhenkanal district is no different either. It seems, the Naveen Patnaik government’s wheel of progress may have taken a detour of the village. 

Most of the villagers are farmers. They have their farming lands on the other side of Rangamatia rivulet. They have been facing difficulties in going to the other side. Their demand for a bridge over the river has fallen on the administration’s deaf ears. They alleged if a 22-year-old government failed to get them a bridge, what is the use of this government. 

With no option left, the villagers recently constructed a bamboo bridge. “We are mostly farmers living here. If a bridge is constructed, we can take our vegetable crops to market easily,” said Sadashib Rout, a villager. 

Expressing his concern, secretary of Bhuban Krushak Samaj, Purnachandra Sahoo said, “Baji Rout’s birth centenary will be celebrated. But the condition of his village is least said the better.  The farmers have built a bamboo bridge to take their crops to the market. If a concrete bridge is not constructed, the government will have to pay a heavy price for this.”

When contacted, Kalyan Sourav Das, BDO of Bhuban block, said, “The villagers’ demand is genuine. They need a bridge. We will take up the matter up with the Water Resources department. If a bridge can be constructed under any scheme like Biju Setu Yojana, people will immensely be benefitted.”


(Reported by Sanjeev Nayak from Jajpur and Rajashree Satpathy from Dhenkanal, OTV)