Cassian Baliarsingh

A remote village in the tribal-dominated Rayagada district has never seen light and continues to reel under darkness even 76 years after the independence. Ironically, the village is located just 2 km away from the residence of Odisha ST & SC Development, Minorities & Backward Classes Welfare Minister Jagannath Saraka.

Electricity connection is a distant daydream for the tribals of Chanchadamundi village under Jhingidi panchayat who even today use torches and lamps after sunset. Women here are forced to finish their cooking and other household chores before sunset. 

The residents of the village are forced to travel to nearby villages to get their mobile phones charged. Most of the time their mobile phones remain switched off without charge, it was learnt. 

Among the various problems that cripple the village is the lack of electricity. Residents here have to eat in the dark and go in groups to attend nature’s call to avoid any untoward incident. Children here cannot study after sunset. 

“We have been given the false promise of electrification for ages. Every time we reach the Collectorate, we are turned away with false promises. Forget about giving electricity supply to every house, they cannot even arrange a few street lights,” a local alleged.

Another local said, “We have given up all hopes now after running from pillar to post for years. Now, we have to learn to live in the dark, as we have no other option. We have visited every office and even given written complaints. But, there is no hope left now.”

There are several other villages under Minister Jagannath Saraka’s constituency that have been deprived of basic amenities like electricity supply, drinking water, and road facilities. To date, people in these villages walk kilometers to reach the block headquarters for their daily commodities.

“Can you believe that Minister Jagannath Saraka’s residence is just 2 km away from this village? This is the reality of BJD’s 23 years of rule in Odisha,” another local said taking a dig at the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD government.

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