Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Though the Odisha government is spending crores of rupees in advertisements to claim the development of various infrastructures across Odisha, people in various parts of the State are still deprived of basic amenities.

Take the case of Salebhata village under Naktideul block in Sambalpur district. Residents of as many as nine villages in the area are facing many problems in daily communication due to the absence of a bridge over Tikira river. They have to take a diversion and cover 17 kilometres to come to the main road due to the absence of the bridge. 

Though they have appraised the public representatives and local administration of their problems and requested them to construct a bridge, it has fallen on deaf ears. During the time of the election, many political leaders would assure them of the bridge. However, as soon as the election is finished, they forget about their promises.

“Whenever there is a flood in the river, we have to cross 30 kilometers to come to the main road. The political leaders and the administration are only giving us false assurances. No step has been taken as yet to construct the bridge,” said Binodini Tirkey, a resident of Kandala village.

At last, with no option left, the local residents put their hands together and constructed a temporary wooden bridge over the river by collecting Rs 200 each from each family. Fed up with the apathetic attitude of the administration and political leaders, they have decided to boycott the upcoming election. They have also put up posters in their areas with this announcement.

“We get many promises for the construction of the bridge during the time of the election. However, all the promises are forgotten as soon as the election is over. So, we have decided to boycott the upcoming election,” said Gurucharan Munda, a resident of Salebhata.

Meanwhile, responding to the allegations by the villagers, Rairakhol MLA Rohit Pujari assured that the bridge will be constructed soon.

“I have prepared a list of roads and bridges to be constructed in the constituency and sent it to the Chief Minister’s office, PWD and RD Departments. All those projects will be constructed gradually,” said Pujari.

In another picture of neglect, villagers of Doudaguda Bhaluguda under Korukanda block in Malkangiri district are facing lots of hardships sans a motorable road. Forget about vehicles, it is difficult even to walk on the kachha road connecting the village to the main road. In times of emergency, the villagers have to carry serious patients of the village in slings to the medical, which is situated four kms away. 

During the last election, leaders of various political parties had reportedly promised them the construction of a pucca road in their village. However, nothing has been materialized yet. Irked over the development, the villagers have decided not to allow any political leader to enter their village to beg votes for the upcoming election.

“We will not allow entry of any political leader to our village to beg votes for the upcoming election. We will only vote for the candidate who will construct the road for us,” said Gobinda Golari, a resident of Doudaguda Bhaluguda village.

“We are facing lots of hardships due to the absence of a pucca road. Even serious patients are carried to the medical in slings,” rued Ramdhar Khila, another resident of Doudaguda Bhaluguda village.

Responding to the allegations by the villagers Chitrakonda MLA Purna Chandra Baka assured that the road will be completed soon.

“Whatever work is pending in the constituency, I will inform about to the Chief Minister’s office and those projects will be completed soon,” said Baka.