BARIPADA: Gobindpur village in Mayurbhanj district is just 17 km from the district headquarters. Yet, the village does not have electricity and an all-weather road is a distant dream. Located in the foothills of Sitakund waterfall in Similipal reserve forest, there are no adequate facilities for healthcare and irrigation either.
Gobindpur under Kuchilaghati panchayat in Shamakhunta block, is home to 63 families. “Sometimes we are forced to carry the patient on cots to the nearest Rangamati health centre as no ambulances can enter our village due to bad roads.
The village has a school but the lone teacher remains absent,” said local Ruhana Singh.
Villagers mostly eke out a living by collecting Sal leaves and other minor forest produce, but they allege that unscrupulous traders purchase the items from them at throwaway price. “It is difficult to even earn ` 100 a week,” Singh added.
Repeated appeals about the problems to officials concerned have only fallen on deaf ears. With the government being apathetic to their problems, the people have now decided to boycott the panchayat polls in protest. They said the Sarpanch and the local MLA have not visited the village for years now.
“During election, a few political leaders come calling and make promises to redress all grievances. Once the election is over, they do not return,” said Bhatta Singh.