UMERKOTE: Every morning, residents of five villages under Gona panchayat in Raighar block line up on the wooden logs placed precariously to serve as a bridge over the nullah flowing through the area. Over a score of small kids troop in soon enough and are ushered through the dangerous path to school by the hands of the elders.
This has become a routine for the locals as the nullah flowing with high water-level due to the monsoon has cut-off connectivity to the school on the other side. Children of Borahoguda, Bhatipara, Jampani and Pujharipara villages under the panchayat depend on the school. But with the advent of monsoon, their studies take a back seat as rainwater fills the nullah and becomes impossible for the kids to cross it.
While their pleas to the district administration for construction of a bridge failed to elicit any action, the villagers this year decided to take matter in their own hands. They set up a temporary bridge by placing wooden logs over the nullah.
“We collected logs and put them over the nullah as a temporary bridge. But as the path is still treacherous, we stand in a line and hold the hands of our children to make them safely cross the bridge. There is no other option and we cannot just sacrifice the studies of our children for this annual hazard,” a local rued.
“All our pleas for a concrete bridge have fallen on deaf ears of the administration. If the Government continues to remain aloof from our plight, we will have no option but to launch an agitation,” he added.
Located on the border of Chhattisgarh, the panchayat seems to have missed from the radar of the Government as basic development continues to elude it through the decades. Without a proper road, pregnant women, ailing children and senior citizens are carried on slings and cots to hospitals. While pregnant women giving birth on way to hospital is a regular affair, villagers have also reconciled to deaths occurring due to delay in access to health care.
The monsoon is the most dreaded season for the villagers as the area is completely cut-off from the block headquarters. The only 800 metre kutcha road becomes muddy and slippery making it dangerous for use. Sources said even if one manages to traverse through it, there is no way further as the nullah flows ahead.
Nabarangpur Collector Dr Ajit Kumar Misra said an action plan for development of the villages has been sent to the State Government. Construction of a bridge over the nullah will start soon, he added.