Kotia Panchayat in Koraput district has been the apple of discord between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. Political parties of the State are also trying to make the most of the Kotia dispute.
But the reality is that development is still a mirage in this part of the district, forcing people to live a wretched life.
In order to get a clear picture of the people’s sufferings, OTV team visited Katragada village.
Our team trekked a serpentine road through the hills to reach the village. Development has long bypassed this village where over 40 families with a population of 150 or so inhabit.
The villagers have a long list of complaints.
They said they have been hearing of getting a fair-weather road for the last five years but nothing has been done in this regard yet.
When it comes to pucca houses under awas yojanas, the least said the better.
There is no sign of pucca houses in the village. The houses have either pantile roofs or asbestos roofs. Electricity has been on their wish list for long. From the poles in the village, it can be well imagined that long ago, efforts were made to provide solar power to the villagers.
“Our village is yet to get electricity. We were somehow managing with solar power. But the facility has been lying defunct for six years now. Without electricity, we are experiencing a lot of difficulties,” said Kamedi Gemei, a Katragada resident.
Echoing the same, another resident Pangi Rama narrated the problems they are facing due to the lack of a fair-weather road.
Clean drinking water and medical facilities are still elusive to these ignoramus villagers. In the absence of a road, the villagers are having a tough time shifting a patient or a pregnant woman to hospital.
After the news of Andhra Pradesh’s transgression into Kotia region, the Odisha government has taken several steps to improve the situation. But all such developmental activities remain confined to the Panchayat area only.
Katragada village is just four kilometers away from the Panchayat headquarters but the village is bereft of any developmental activities. During elections, a phalanx of leaders would visit the village and promise the villagers the sky. After the election, they would appear once in a blue moon.
When contacted, Zilla Parishad member, Tikai Gemel said “Power connection is yet to be rolled out to Katragada village. I took the matter up with the BDO. He assured me, but nothing has been done so far in this regard."
However, Pottangi MLA Pitam Padhi said the villagers' problems will be addressed in a year.
“For the construction of a road to Katraguda, funds have been sanctioned. The village will have the road facility within a year,” said Padhi.
(Reported by Suryanarayan Panda,OTV)