BERHAMPUR: Life is a balancing act for the people of Gopiapali and Ambakhalo villages under Polosara block of Ganjam district. For the people of the villages located barely 12 km from the block headquarters, a bridge made from two bamboo poles over a nullah is their only means of connectivity to the outside world.
The villages, situated around 500 metres from each other, are inhabited by 49 families including 25 tribals and the Scheduled Caste. In absence of communication and other facilities, many families left for other places and at present, the two villages have a population of just over 200 including 35 children.
With no anganwadi centre or health worker appointed for the villages, parents and children walk around nine kms to reach Khairachata and Nimina villages to collect eggs and ‘chatua’ from the anganwadi workers there every month.The only nearest school located in Jagapali village is around two kms away. “The distance is not a matter of concern but we are worried for them as they have to cross Dhanei nullah to reach their schools,” said Rankanidhi Sahu, a social worker of the area. The nullah remains dry for over six months a year and we walk through it to reach the other end,” said Abhimanyu Jani of Gopiapalli. For the rest six months, they tie bamboos to cross the nullah.
The villagers face an uphill task in collecting PDS commodities too. “We get rice from panchayat office at Malatentulia and kerosene from Khairachata village by covering five and seven kms respectively,” said Jani.
Khalia Sabar, head of Ambakhalo said, repeated pleas of the block and district officials to higher authorities have fallen on deaf ears.
“Last week, a woman in labour pain had to be carried on a sling by crossing bamboo poles. She delivered soon after reaching the other side and we could not even take her to hospital,” said Sabar. For supply of electricity, poles were erected five years back but the connection is yet to be provided, he added.
The villagers recently apprised Project Director of Ganjam District Rural Development Agency, Vijay Amruta Kulange about their problems following which Kulange directed BDO Natabara Garada to solve the problems.
The BDO said tenders would soon be floated for construction of bridge over the nullah and asked the villagers to provide a room to run a mini anganwadi centre with immediate effect.