KUTRA (SUNDARGARH): It is poll time again and the politicians are doing what they are best at. Making promises and assuring villagers to undertake development works in the remote villages of Sundargarh district.
This time, however, the villagers of remote Bhogra and Kiringsera in Kutra block, about 62 km from Rourkela, are not too amused. The rural folks, mostly illiterate or semi-literate, have learnt the art of judging their candidate.
Bhogra with four hamlets has a majority tribal population of above 4000. Basic amenities like drinking water availability and minimum healthcare, education and communication services are some of the facilities they can only dream of. Though assurances to develop the facilities come pouring in during every election, the candidates hardly remember any after the electioneering.
Piyush Ekka of Bhogra’s Schoolpara hamlet said the villagers struggle for survival starts from March when the water levels decline and tube-wells go defunct. The gruelling heat only makes things terrible for the villagers, he added.
Another villager Kamal Singh said a majority of the population belong to poor farming households and can hardly afford electricity.
Former ward member Raj Kishore Seronia said during summer a pond, four open wells and tanker water supply come to their rescue. He said drinking water scenario is no better in rest of the interior villages, including the gram panchayat headquarters of Kiringsera.
Road communication too is no better. Bumpy rides on narrow dusty roads are what one would have to experience to reach the villages. During health emergency poor patients are ferried kilometers away to Kutra CHC on bicycles.
In the run up to the rural elections, Odisha unit BJP president and former MP Jual Oram, was in Bhogra and Kiringsera on Friday. For the pathetic state of the villages Jual blamed the district administration and cited a partially complete community centre funded from his MPLAD fund years ago.
Admitting that there were problems, Kutra BDO Niranja Sahu said deep bore wells would be dug after the elections are over.
For the road works, he claimed that shortage of labourers and funds were the constraints. The block with 16 GPs has a population of 70,000.
With the electorate alert and wiser this time round, it would be a tough task for the parties to woo them.