PHULBANI: Fed up with government apathy, Dhaneswar Pradhan, a 42-year-old resident of Kandhamal and his family are building a road on their own to connect their inaccessible village to a motorable track near Kerubadi under Daringbadi block.
Their village Badapenga is densely forested and lay at the far end of the district bordering Ganjam. It is inhabited by 10 Kondh families with 56 members. For years, the villagers have approached every forum, right from gram panchayat to the district level but in vain.
The indifference could not be tolerated anymore by Dhaneswar as medical exigencies and other pressing issues kept bothering the inhabitants. Due to its inaccessibility, villagers are left to fend for themselves and deprived of government benefits. Badapenga has no electricity and locals depend on ‘chuan’ for drinking water. The 42-year-old had approached the gram panchayat, block and district authorities several times but in vain, forcing him to lay the road himself.
He, along with his wife and four children, silently began constructing the road a month back. Their efforts would have gone unnoticed had two social workers, Lusmin Pradhan and Rupakanta Pradhan, not visited the village to collect data for a survey. “We lost our way while going to the village and spotted the family working on building the road,” said Lusmin.
Of the six kilometres, the family has already completed a four km stretch. “We hope to connect Kerubadi with our village soon when the entire stretch of 6 km is done. We will then have motorable road as opposed to now when we have to walk up the hill to reach Badepanga,” said Dhaneswar.
He requested his fellow villagers to join hands in making one but the villagers did not show any interest as they couldn’t afford to give up their wage days for voluntary work. That is when Dhaneswar took up the task. After his efforts were brought to light by the social workers, the administration is now showing interest in taking up the matter. “We are planning to construct the road through MGNREGS involving Dhaneswar’s family as well as other villagers,” said Daringbadi BDO Kalakrushna Pradhan.