VIZIANAGARAM: After waiting for decades for the district administration to lay a motorable road to their hilltop village, the residents of Chintamala in Vizianagaram district pooled in money and laid a road by themselves.The poor tribal people from the village in Saluru mandal collected Rs 6 lakh for the 3.5 km road to connect them to Sagumarri village, from where there are roads to other places.
To get money to lay the road, most villagers had to sell their harvest, while a few even mortgaged their valuables.
About 89 families live in the hilltop village of Chintamala, and had no road connectivity even after seven decades of Independence, causing them problems in everyday life, not to mention medical emergencies.
Chintamala is just 3 km from a village in Narayanapatna block of Odisha’s Koraput district, and the villagers depend on the nearby Odisha villages to sell their crop and make a living. For medical emergencies, they use a makeshift stretcher.
None of 14 hamlets in Kodama panchayat has road connectivity
There are about 14 habitations under Kodama panchayat, and none of the villages are connected by road.
“I contributed Rs 8,000 by selling paddy and ragi (finger millet), for laying of the road to the village,” said CH Raju.
He added that as a majority of the villagers are farmers, they earned money to construct the road by selling their harvest, while a few others mortgaged valuables so they could also pool in.
“We produce paddy, maize and other millets in our hilltop village, and transportation of the harvest is a big challenge to us. We carry our crops and walk to the nearby villages in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh to sell them,” he added.
Similarly, the villagers of Bandapayi contributed about Rs 15,000 to lay a road. The istance between Chintamala and Bandapayi hamlets is about a kilometre.
A footpath to the village was laid under the NREGS in 2017, but it later got covered by bushes. “We used earth movers to lay the road, and it took about 21 days to complete the process. Inspired by what the villagers of Chintamala had done, the residents of Kodama also laid a road, a stretch of 4 km from Barlaganda to Kodama village, at a cost of Rs 4 lakh,” another villager said.
When contacted, Saluru MPDO Shivaramappa said a few hilltop villages in Kodama panchayat have no road connectivity. He said the residents of the hilltop village laid the road with their own funds to connect their locality to the nearby road.