For inhabitants of 16 villages under Maoist-infested Deogarh district, gram rakhis are the only help. For, the police station under whose jurisdiction the villages fall, is over 100 km away.
Villages of Chairmancha, Gothamara, Ratanpur, Gananathpur, Hariharpur, Bhagbatpur, Sunamunda, Hatipathar, Parbatipur, Mendipali, Bhaluabahal, Ginahata, Tiriba, Babarakani, Badchapal and Brahmasadhubahali are attached to Gundeigola police station which is around 120 km away. And people have to cross the Barkote, Deogarh and Reamal Police limits to reach their police station for lodging a complaint.
As a result, villagers do not approach police all the time as it entails a lot of time, energy and money. Only major cases are brought to the notice of police.
Under these circumstances, it is the gram rakhis who call the shots at the village during any law and order situation. The bootleggers too have a field day.
The problem cropped up after the Rengali dam submerged many villages, changing boundaries and jurisdictions.
Although the district and police administration have moved the State Government umpteen times over the issue since 1999, the matter has not caught the government’s attention till date. The local administration had suggested merger of these villages with Barkote and Deogarh police limits.
Apart from liquor trade, these villages are easy targets for Maoists in the absence of police.
Deogarh district is part of the corridor connecting Saranda forest across the border in Jharkhand and this helps Maoists to escape during combing operations.