PADMAPUR(RAYAGADA): Several villages under Padmapur block in Rayagada district are bereft of amenities like health, education, power, water and communication. It is in sharp contrast to the oft-repeated government rhetoric of all-round development. Many of these villages are inaccessible; as a result government officials seldom visit them.
One of the worst affected in the block is Anjali village. The revenue village resembles an area forgotten for ages. It is devoid of all basic amenities with even roads still a distant dream and potable water hard to think of. The village is about 25 km from Padmapur block headquarters and comes under Jatili panchayat. Surrounded by mountains and dense green cover, the village just has a narrow road. The revenue village status was conferred on it around three decades back. It is, however, yet to see development.
Anjali has 21 families with a population of 124 persons. All the families are tribals except one which is Scheduled Caste. The poor villagers earn their livelihood from collecting forest produce and Podu (shifting cultivation). Only nine families have been identified as BPL, but most of them have not received their ration cards till now. While all the men folk are literate, women are not.
Besides lack of road, the village faces acute water scarcity although it has two open wells and tube-wells. The two tube-wells have been defunct since long and water in one of the open wells is used for bathing purpose by the villagers. The other one does not meet the drinking water requirement of the villagers.
Though the village has an anganwadi centre, it fails to cater to the requirements of women and children.
Interestingly, all the villagers are converted Christians from Hindus. The villagers lament that even as the religious leaders responsible for conversion had promised them benefits, they have forgotten all the promises today. “We have even appealed to the government for help several times in the past, but in vain,” said Philip Sabarm Sahadev, a local.
On the other hand, district administration officials said efforts were being made to solve various problems in the village. An official said the defunct tube-wells will be repaired soon. “Likewise, the village will get a proper road,” he added.