Of unmotorable terrains! Mules constant companions to ferry men, supplies in Malkangiri

Malkangiri: Even as the country struggles to take a stand over the fancy bullet trains, locals in Odisha’s  Malkangiri district, thanks to unmotorable terrains, continue to fasten their faith on the humble mule to ride and carry their supplies.

In absence of roads, at least 7000 people living in Ralegeda and Dhuliput panchayats  of this district  heavily depend on this primitive means of transport to cross the terrains and reach downhill to collect their monthly PDS supply.

“We have to travel at least 50 kms to collect rice, kerosene and other food items and these hardy animals are the only means to  carry goods in such harsh terrains. Mules are sure-footed and can survive harsh conditions and hence suit our requirement,” explained a local adding that even a brief spell of rain often leaves the village cut off.

While some have their own mules, others hire them for a price ranging from Rs 300 to Rs 500.”I hired it for Rs 500 for two trips to the village,” said a young villager.

Not just for transport, the patients in these villages are often forced to ride on mule backs to reach hospitals for treatment.  “A few years ago , an approach road to these twin panchayats got damaged after heavy rains . It has been five to six years now but the road has not been repaired yet,” informed another local.

Adding to the woes is the Maoists’ fear in the region who are against road construction work.

Malkangiri Sub collector Lingaraj Panda said that the situation would soon change. “Our focus was on Gurupriya so far. Now that it is completed, the road construction work in these villages will soon begin,” informed Panda.