RAYAGADA: Lack of road connectivity has now become the main concern for Rayagada administration as far as providing emergency healthcare services to pregnant women is concerned. Women in labour are either forced to walk or are carried on ‘Ama Doli’ stretchers and slings to Kalyansinghpur community health centre (CHC) for delivery.Parshalli panchayat in the block is a case in point. The panchayat, home to Dongria Kondhs, is located close to the Niyamgiri hills. On Thursday, three pregnant Dongria Kondh women had to walk down for several kilometres despite being in labour to reach the CHC for delivery. Another woman was fortunate to get an autorickshaw to the health centre after 102 ambulance failed to turn up.
Alma Sikaka (23) of Nishikhal village under Parshalli panchayat went into labour and was carried on a stretcher by her family members from Parshalli for 6 km till Badaduarasahi. They then crossed the Kalyani river and reached the CHC where she delivered a baby boy. Sitari Kadraka (25) of Sanadengnali village had to walk for 2 km along with her relatives till they got an auto to the CHC. Majhibani Jakaka (35) of Lamba village walked for 22 km to reach the CHC. Lamba is one of the most remote and inaccessible villages near Niyamgiri hills. In another incident, Sikaka Hundadi (24) of Patalamba village, who came to the CHC in an auto in the absence of an ambulance, delivered a baby girl in the health centre.
Post-flood, the kutch roads in these villages have also been washed away.
Thirty years back, the State Government set up Dongria Kondh Development Agency (DKDA) for development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTGs). Although crores of rupees have been spent by the State Government through DKDA, these tribals are yet to taste the fruits of development. Even as there have been attempts by the government to lay roads in villages located close to Niyamgiri hills, Maoists have been opposing the move. The Red rebels have been active in Niyamgiri hills from 2010.
Last year, Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) began construction of 4-km-long road from Parshalli to Gumma via Sana Dengnali and Bada Dengnali but work was stopped by Maoists, who torched construction equipment engaged in the road works in January this year. They also threatened the contractor implementing the work of dire consequences if he went ahead with the road project.
Through posters, Maoists claimed that the government was constructing the 12-ft wide pucca road to facilitate bauxite mining by multinational companies in Niyamgiri. Since then, no effort has been made to restart construction of the road. Sources said the Rayagada administration is planning to open a Maa Gruha at Parshalli panchayat for providing medical care to pregnant women in the area.
Being one of the most inaccessible pockets, both 102 and 108 ambulances are not able to reach any of the villages of Kalyansinghpur block and it is the pregnant and critical patients who suffer the most.
In the last few months, several cases related to pregnant women being carried on stretchers and cots to the health centres have been reported. Existing roads have been washed away in the recent flood.