BARGARH: Every year during monsoon, five villages in Chardapali gram panchayat are cut off from rest of the world due to flood in river Ang. In the absence of a bridge over the river, people of Chardapali, Changaria, Gundichadihi, Lahandipur and Luhurakot villages are deprived of essential commodities and basic necessities for a period of four months.
These villages are surrounded by river Surangi in the east, river Chirai in the west and Ang in the south. In their north lies a hill range across which, Chhattisgarh is located. During rain, river Ang gets flooded with run off water from the hill range.
Although people have been demanding a bridge over the river to facilitate connectivity to the mainstream during monsoon, the State Government or the local administration is yet to pay any heed. On Tuesday, the villagers met Additional District Magistrate Pradeep Kumar Gardia and demanded that they should be included in neighbouring Chhattisgarh if the Odisha Government fails to construct a bridge for them.
They said the river snaps their connectivity for four months every year for which children cannot go to school. The closest gram panchayat is Lakmara, situated one km across river Ang. As there is no secondary school in any of the five villages, students cross the river to reach Lakmara to continue school education.
Even as country boats were plying, they were stopped after the administration refused to give them permission following the Hirakud boat mishap last year. Under these circumstances, people are forced to depend on the neighbouring Chhattisgarh for their daily requirements. Interestingly, the gram panchayat is located barely 15 km from Padampur sub-division and comes under Paikmal block.
The villagers led by Sarpanch Basanti Balam and Samiti Member Sabitri Naik are demanding a bridge to connect Chardapali with Lakhmara and urged the district administration to permit Chardapali gram panchayat authorities to operate and manage boat services.