Red shadow looms over Patpani, villagers dread returning home - The New Indian Express

Red shadow looms over Patpani, villagers dread returning home

Published: 27th May 2013 12:41 PM

Last Updated: 27th May 2013 12:41 PM

Patpani village under Komna block of the district lies in deep forest away from any semblance of civilization. All basic facilities including an approach road have given it a go-by. Adding to the woes of the villagers, the Maoists are having a field day in terrorising and exploiting them safely far from the glare of the security forces. As a result, the villagers have found the only way to save themselves by migrating to safer places.

Today, majority of the houses in the village are under lock and key with hardly any villager moving around on its dusty street. Once having 140 villagers, it is left with just 15 persons, mostly elderly and handicapped.

On February 8, a tribal Siksha Sahayak who was working in Dungripali village under Budhikomna gram panchayat, Chaitanya Majhi, was killed by Maoists accusing him of being a police informer.

Among 15 persons left in the village is Yudhistir, the father of Chaitanya.

Chaitanya, the only educated youth of the village, had gone to study in High School before completing his graduation from Komna College. He had gone to his village along with his wife and daughter to attend a marriage. While returning to Dungripali, Maoists shot him dead.

The nearest habitation of Patpani is Kamkeda village. One has to trek the dusty and stony road for nearly two hours to reach Kamkeda village, which can be approached by motorcycle.

From there, one has to walk down another 20 km to reach Patpani. The village is situated along the Balangir border and has two tubewells and a primary school in the name of development. Villagers have to traverse 20 km to reach the nearest CHC at Komna and are even devoid of electricity.

Even as the Government has been talking of welfare measures in Maoist affected villages, there is no sign of such measures in Patpani. Both the district administration and local police have failed to restore confidence among villagers to return home.

Ananta Majhi (70), a villager, said a few months back police personnel visited the village and since then none has bothered to inquire about the well-being of people left behind in Patpani.

Nuapada SP Uma Shankar Dash said efforts are underway to restore confidence among the villagers and bring them back to their homes. However, he said it will take some time to restore normalcy and impress upon the villagers that they will be safe in the village.

On the other hand, BDO in-charge of Komna Debasis Sinha claimed that while some villagers are staying in Kamkeda, many have migrated to Balangir in search of work.

 “Many villagers have approached us to allot them land elsewhere so that they can stay there. But it is the tehsildar who can allot them land. We can sanction financial assistance to them under IAY if they get land from the tehsildar,” he said.

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