BHADRAK: Irked with Government inaction over their repeated demands for a bridge over river Salandi, the people of a cluster of villages joined hands to construct one with their own resources.
The people of remote Dakhinapari, Dapa and Barankula under Tihidi block, about 25 km from here, constructed the 440-foot-long, five-foot-wide and 30-foot-high bamboo bridge over the river to make life convenient for them.
About 300 families of the three villages were deprived of development in the absence of proper communication. Country boats were the only mode of travel.
With Government officials rarely visiting the villages, several welfare schemes were out of their reach. Health services were in a disarray and in case of emergencies, they had to make do with local help.
The situation turns worse during monsoon when the river is in spate. “We had to store food and other essentials for the rainy season as we remain cut off from the block headquarters,” said Gopal Mahalik, a villager.
“After repeated pleas, former MLA Rajendra Das got a bamboo bridge constructed at a cost of `30,000 in 2012. It collapsed within a year and 15 students fell into the river. Fortunately, their lives were saved but the bridge was never restored,” Mahalik added. However, nearly a month ago, the villagers decided to take the matter in their own hands. All the villagers held a meeting where it was decided to collect `200 from each family. This apart, a male member from each family volunteered to put in his labour.
The decision to construct the bridge was a challenge, said Hurdananda Samal, a carpenter. “We purchased wood and other raw materials from block headquarters and transported those through country boats. The entire process was taxing,” said Sudarshan Majhi, Ward member of the village.