Villagers in cut-off areas of Astaranga kept waiting for bridge

Puri: Country-made boats are the only option for the residents of Sisua Panchayat in Puri district owing to absence of a bridge in the region.

Five villages-Chhenu, Tandahar, Udaykani, Katakana and Kalamkani are considered to be the cut-off areas of Astaranga as the region is surrounded by water of Bay of Bengal along with Prachee and Kadua rivers.

Be it for any official work or for health care facilities, people living in the Panchayat have to risk their lives to cross the river in the country-made boats.

“Boat is the only medium of communication for us. When there is more water in the river during floods, moving out of our village becomes very difficult,” said Bena Mallick, a villager.

“We are facing difficulty in taking small children to hospitals. Students are finding it hard to attend school and we are not getting help from the Panchayat as well. The administration has always failed to reach us with relief materials during calamities like flood and cyclone. No one is there to resolve our grievances,” said another villager Bichitrananda Kalia.

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Villagers have been demanding for the construction of a bridge in the cut-off areas since past several years. But neither the government officials nor the administration have come to their rescue.

On the other hand, the block president of Astaranga and executive engineer of rural development department assured for the construction of the bridge as soon as possible to connect the cut-off areas.

Swadhin Nayak, Block President of Astaranga said, “We have informed the State government on behalf of the Panchayat Samiti about the need of a bridge. We will try to get it approved under Biju Setu Yojana.”

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“A bridge under Biju Setu Yojana will be built here soon,” said executive engineer of rural development department, Debasish Padhi.

The villagers are expecting that construction of a bridge in this area of Astaranga will not only help them get proper means of communication but will also transform their economic and social condition.