Jajpur: Tucked in the forested hills in Jajpur district, Nagada which was once inaccessible and had made it to the headlines for malnutrition deaths, has turned into a ‘model’ village in barely a year as per local administration parlance.
Though the ‘model’ concept does specify the parameters that are mostly infrastructural, the villagers staying in all three Nagadas have a different story to tell.
"Concrete houses have replaced thatched houses. Electricity and water pipelines have been provided. There are Anganwadi centres and schools – and everything that makes it count as a ‘model village,’ says Sukinda MLA Priti Ranjan Ghadei.
Agreeing to what Ghadei said, Jajpur Collector Ranjan Kumar Das reiterates that, "All the infrastructural changes required for a village have been done.”
However, villagers beg to differ. While water supply and electric supply are inconsistent, schools run only for a few hours a day, rued villagers adding that they are deprived of even basic medical facilities.
The locals also complained of being affected by the ban on Podu agriculture imposed by the state government in the area. "Ban on Podu farming has affected our livelihood. We are not getting water; electricity supply had also come for a day," said a Nagada resident Bodhua Pradhan.
Another resident Bhalua Pradhan said, "Schools are being run from 7 am to 10 am. Facilities have been provided but they are not being executed properly."
In 2016, about 21 children had died in the tribal-dominated village allegedly due to malnutrition. The incident had caused an outrage and the state government drew flak from all quarters. The first motorable road to Nagada village was laid by the Jajpur district administration last year.