Birindapada, a small village under Nuagaon block in Odisha’s Kandhamal district, seems to be not in the priority list of the district administration. Cut off from the outer world by a turbulent river, the villagers fail to reach the local markets, hospitals, schools and colleges.
The locals alleged that they have been deprived of basic transport and communication facilities for decades and all their prayers to build a concrete bridge over the river always fell in the “deaf ears” of the administration. Despite repeated appeals and petitions to the local representatives of the state administration, no step was taken to construct a bridge.
As a result, they always crossed the dangerous river with the help of electric cables tied to the trees on both sides of the river.
“All our villagers have appealed to the local MLA and MP umpteen times. They have always assured us to look into our request. Unfortunately, they never made any move to build a bridge here. Pregnant women and ailing people were left to their fate as we could not carry them to the nearby hospitals,” said the villagers.
They added that government supplied ration often did not reach them as the river served as a major barrier.
“Previously, we used to cross the river with the help of metal electric cables tied to big trees on both the sides of the river. When our plight was highlighted by the media, the administration removed the cables, pushing us to utter confinement. Our brothers and fathers collected logs from the forest and made this timber bridge. If the government removes it, we will once again be stranded and will be paddling through water risking our lives,” said a pregnant woman.
Though no government official was forthcoming on the allegation of apathy made by the villagers, sources said the government has constructed a bridge over the river on its upstream, 6 km from the village. However, the villagers who are not using that bridge have to cover that extra 6 km to reach the K Nuagaon where the block office, hospitals, schools and college is located.