BERHAMPUR: Genja panchayat in Soroda block of Ganjam district is yet another example of Government neglect. Talk of connectivity, communication or power supply, the panchayat has none.
Having a sizeable tribal population, Genja panchayat comprises 34 villages and a few hamlets. Though situated about 18 kms from Soroda town, the panchayat continues to be ignored by local administration.
Surrounded by hills, forest and narrow roads, the topography of the panchayat has helped the Maoists run their operations from some villages and exert influence over the villagers. For the presence of Maoists, Government projects never reached the villages with Government employees unwilling to join their posts in the area apprehending risk to their lives.
In fact, the Red rebels had a stronghold over some villages in the panchayat till the arrest of their leader Sabyasachi Panda. However, no Maoist activity has been reported after Panda’s arrest so far.
On the other hand, rampant felling of trees in the forest has robbed the tribals of their only source of livelihood. The tribals in inaccessible villages earn their livelihood by taking up shift cultivation and collecting forest produce like sal seeds and mohua flowers.
Sima Malik of Achintapalli and her co-villagers, who collect mohua flowers for a living, said they have stopped shift cultivation following persuasion from different quarters. “The land is fertile but we have to depend on rain for cultivation. Despite our repeated requests to the authorities concerned, no attempt has been made to provide irrigation or even sink borewells,” Sima Malik added.
The irony is that the land in the area is worthy of multiple-crop, but it is restricted to single crop in a year due to want of irrigation facility.
On the connectivity front, pucca roads remain a dream and the kuchha roads get washed away even after a light rain, restricting movement, said the locals.
Electricity too is yet to reach the area. Genja Sarpanch Pramita Bisoi said the district administration has been apprised of the problems being faced by the villagers and the administration has assured to lay the roads soon.
Six villages in the panchayat have already been connected with electricity and work is under progress in 11 other villages. Electricity poles have already been erected and power supply would be provided gradually, she added.