Lanjigarh: Even as the government spends crores of rupees under various schemes for development, residents of four remote villages in this block of Kalahandi are living a life of misery and deprivation due to absence of a bridge on Ret river, a report said Wednesday.
The river has become a sorrow for the residents of Dialbahali village in Kankutru panchayat as the river remains full throughout the year. The residents of Dialbahali are not the lone sufferers. Their counterparts in Baragauda, Tentulipunga, Salapanga and other villages also face the same fate.
The worst sufferers are the students in these villages who risk their lives and wade through knee deep water daily to reach their schools on the other side of the river. Their uniforms get wet when they cross the river. They bring a napkin and wear it while crossing the river.
They stop attending schools during the rainy season. It becomes difficult for a person to survive if he/she falls ill during the four-month rainy season as the overflowing river prevents one from carrying the patients to the hospital.
There are even instances when pregnant women and seriously ill patients have died for being unable to visit the hospital during the rainy season. The villagers have met the local political representatives, minister, BDO and collector several times and pleaded with them to construct a bridge on the river but to no avail
The villages remain cut off from the outside world for a period of four months during the monsoon. During this period, they collect food in advance and store them in their houses to see them through during rainy season.
Recently, BDO Pitambar Tarai, tehsildar Saroj Kumar Pattnaik, panchayat executive officer Anand Chandra Sahu crossed the river with much difficulty and interacted with villagers on their problems. SDO Satya Narayan Khura of the rural works department and Lanjigarh MLA Balabhadra Majhi said the tender for construction of a bridge on the river has been finalized and the construction work will begin this year.
The announcement has spread cheers among villagers but they apprehend whether the work will actually begin this year or will meet the fate of several previous announcements.