MALKANGIRI: Even after 72 years of Independence, a tribal village in Mathili block continues to remain water-locked due to failure of the State Government to construct a bridge over Dharmadhara river.
Situated around seven km from Mathili, Atalguda village in Dhungiaput panchayat with a population of 300 is surrounded by water and cut off from the mainland. But the Government has turned a blind eye to the miseries of the tribal villagers.
Deprived of road communication, the villagers are forced to cross the river every day to reach Govindpalli and Mathili for their daily needs. Though the Government has provided a motorised boat for the villagers, it has been rendered useless as some of its parts have malfunctioned.
Sources said in the past, many people have lost their lives while crossing the river. Though the absence of a bridge is causing inconvenience to everyone, the worst hit are students and patients. Locals said crossing the river in waist-deep water is a routine affair for students to reach Govindpalli to attend school and college. Atalguda has only a primary school.
When the water level increases in the river, students prefer not to attend school by risking their lives. Their studies are affected the most during rainy season, said the villagers.
Similarly, patients too face a harrowing time in the absence of a bridge. In order to reach the hospital, one has to cross the river to be able to take the main road. There have been several instances of patients losing their lives while crossing the river.
Locals said several requests to the Government to construct a bridge over the river have yielded no result. “It is extremely unfortunate that the Government is insensitive towards our plight,” they rued.
Contacted, Mathili BDO Asish Kumar Bhoi said the Rural Development department has given a proposal to the State Government for construction of a bridge over Dharmadhara river.