Gurupriya – A Bridge To Nowhere? 

Malkangiri: The inauguration of the Gurupriya bridge, not only promised connectivity but also development for over 150 cut-off villages in the Maoist-infested Malkangiri district. Contrary to all the promises, the Gurupriya bridge seems to have taken the people of these villages hardly any closer to development.

Jantri panchayat under Chitrakonda block which consists of 12 villages was supposed to greatly benefit from the Gurupriya bridge. A good road is still a distant dream for the people here. Drinking water facilities are miserable as people are dependent on the river. Education system is in a shambles in the region. Though children here want to get good education, lack of basic amenities and infrastructure seems to have ruined their dreams.

A local of Jantri, Angara Muduli said, “There is no drinking water, no school, no teacher and even no one is coming to look into our problems.”

As per reports, Jantri panchayat was delimited from Andrapali panchayat three years ago. Government stopped panchayat elections at Jantri claiming it to be Maoist-affected. It now has no sarpanch and doesn’t have even a panchayat office. Besides, locals alleged that rice (under the Food Security scheme) is distributed near the river bank and often they fail to get it due to lack of communication.

Another Jantri resident, Jagannath Galori said, “The PEO is not visiting the area. Rice is distributed untimely and we hardly get to know about it. Many people don’t even get rice.”

Chitrakonda BDO Lareman Kharsel said due to lack of motorable roads, the administration has failed to take up construction work in the region. However, he assured that measures are being taken to deal with their problems at the earliest.