‘Swabhiman Anchal’ Yet To Reap Benefits Of Gurupriya Bridge

Locals of as many as seven panchayats of Malgkangiri cut-off area cry for help as basic amenities still elude the region

Malkangiri: The much-hyped Gurupriya Bridge over Janbai River in Malkangiri district was built to serve as a vital link between the 150 villages of Swabhiman Anchal (cut-off areas) and the district headquarters. However, due to lack of motorable roads to seven panchayats of the region, many people are still deprived of the advantages of the bridge.

After the inauguration of 910 metre-long Gurupriya on July 26 last year, communication gap between the villages on both the sides of the river was bridged but basic amenities like roads and schools still elude thousands of people of the seven panchayats including Andrapalli, Panasput, Jantri and Jodamba.

Lack of roads reportedly forces people of these panchayats to take over-loaded risky boat rides to cross Balimela Dam and travel to the other side of the river.

A local Dhantari Golari said, “The Gurupriya Bridge is of no use to the residents of Jantri, Sindhuput and other remote areas. We are still facing the same communication problem that we used to.”

“It’s been one year since the Gurupriya Bridge was thrown open to public. However, construction of pucca road in many places like Jodamba, Andrapalli, Niguda and Panasput in the cut-off areas is yet to be done,” alleged another local, Madan Hantal.
As per reports, apart from roads and schools, people of the seven panchayats are also deprived of basic amenities like hospital and drinking water facilities.

CM Naveen Patnaik had declared Rs 100 crore welfare projects for the far-flung interior villages of Swabhiman Anchal while inaugurating the bridge last year. Following the announcement, some development projects were taken up but many such projects are yet to be started, said sources.

On the other hand, Chitrakonda Block Development Officer (BDO) Larman Khosrel said that Gurupriya Bridge has brought extensive development in the region.

“The Gurupriya Bridge has brought huge development in the Swabhiman Anchal,” said the BDO while admitting that the seven panchayats are still facing communication problems.