Himansu Shekhar Rout

Amid an intensified exercise by major political parties for candidate selection, there are visible signs of resentment at the grassroots as people are fuming over a lack of civic amenities like roads and drinking water. People in some places have warned of poll boycotts. Not only that, they have even vowed not to allow entry of political leaders during electioneering.

Some posters were pasted while a banner was hung on the outskirts of Kansar under the Tileibani block of Deogarh district. The banner reflects the deep resentment of the people of eight villages under the Kansar panchayat where residents are allegedly leading a miserable life without proper road connectivity, electricity, mobile network and drinking water facilities. 

“If our demands for completion of the under-construction road, electricity supply, mobile tower installation and drinking water supply are not fulfilled, no leaders or political parties will be allowed into the villages,” the banner read.

Chandan Pradhan, a resident of Kansar, said, "None of our problems have been resolved over the years.”

Raghunath Panigrahi, Tileibani BDO said, "The villagers have warned of a poll boycott. We will look into the matter and submit a report to the district administration.”

In Damodargoni village under the tribal-dominated Telkoi block of Keonjhar, people routinely have to wade through a creek to get to their farmland or the panchayat office. They have long been pressing for a bridge across the creek, but neither leaders nor the administration have addressed their demands, they lamented.

The villagers donated money and built a makeshift bridge. Though Rs 6.19 crore has been sanctioned for a bridge and road, construction of some other projects is allegedly being carried out elsewhere, it was alleged.

Sanjay Kumar Pradhan, a villager of Damodargoni, said, "We have appealed to the Collector, PD (DRDA), BDO and MLA. But no steps have been taken.” 

Assistant engineer of the RWSS (Keonjhar-II), Himansu Sethi said, "If a proposal is given, fresh estimate will be done for a bridge.”

People of Gambhariguda in Rayagada district have been caught in a strange situation of jurisdictional duality for years. The village belongs to the Koraput revenue circle, even though the village is in Rayagada. The problem dates back to the royal regime of Jeypore. The then king of the Jeypore royal estate had donated the village to the then Kashipur king.

Since then the postal code of the village has been under Koraput while land documents are in Rayagada. Local residents alleged that due to the unchanged PIN code, they have to suffer a lot in communication as well as in availing government facilities.   

The issue was once raised in the Parliament. The Central government directed the state government to sort out the issue, but it has not been resolved yet. Upset over the problem, the residents have warned to boycott polls. 

“If our village is not merged with Dasmanthpur, we will not vote,” the villagers said. 

Koraput MP Saptagiri Ulaka said, "I had told the Collector about the issue. An investigation was conducted. The issue is pending with the state government.” 

Koraput sub-collector Benudhar Sabar said, "The village is under the revenue jurisdiction of Koraput. They were under the Kashipur block. I had given a detailed report.”

  • Reported by:
  • Chinmaya Sahoo , Surya Narayan Panda , Sidharth Guru