Development Still A Distant Dream In Tragedy-Struck Gumudumaha Village

Kandhamal: Three years have passed since the Gumudumaha firing incident took place in Kandhamal district but still there is no sign of development in the area despite government’s assurance.

On July 8, 2016, five persons including three women and a 13-month-old boy returning to Gumudumaha village in an autorickshaw were killed after a 15-member team of the state’s Anti-Maoist Paramilitary Force and the Special Operations Group allegedly fired at the vehicle.

The incident made headlines in national and international media. Politicians cutting across party lines visited Gumudumaha following the incident and protested the alleged killings.

The Odisha Government too had assured to take up developmental works and promised justice for the victims but even after three years hardly anything has changed in the village.

To take stock of the situation, an OTV representative Ajit Nayak recently visited Gumudumaha.

“It has been three years since the incident took place. The construction of road to the village that started soon after the announcement by the government has been stopped. As a result, patients including pregnant women face lot of difficulties to reach hospital,” said a villager of Gumudumaha.

Another villager, who reportedly lost his sister-in-law in the firing said, “Following the incident, an overhead water tank was built in the village and a road construction work was taken up but it was not completed. The pipes which were laid for water supply to various households of the village are also not working full-fledged.”

Further speaking about the power supply and mobile network in the village, he alleged, “Though power supply was given to the village soon after the incident, we rarely get electricity due to low voltage. The government had assured to build mobile network tower and health centre but the land for the same is yet to be identified.”

He further alleged that despite repeated written complaints to the concerned authorities, officials are yet to visit the village for inspection and take steps in this regard.