MEGHPAL (SAMBALPUR):From ‘Naxalbari’ to ‘Mission Meghpal’, Meghpal panchayat in Jujumura block of the district is all set to become a model village for other Maoist-affected villages of the State.
The panchayat, which has a population of more than 3,000, has undergone a sea-change ever since the Maoists announced their arrival in the region with the killing of former sarpanch of Tampargarh Kader Singh on January 23, 2003. Devoid of electricity, drinking water and schools, the village, nestled in forest, was the most backward pocket in the district and a soft target for the Maoists, who lured youths into their outfit by promising good pay.
To bring about a positive change in the lives of the people, who have been living under the Red shadow for over a decade, Sarpanch Manabhanjan Badaik and Collector Balwant Singh took steps to ensure development and restore confidence among the locals.
In a major step towards development, the village was electrified complete with street lighting, four additional classrooms were dedicated to the students of the high school, all the nine schools in the panchayat were provided with running water in their toilets, a bank branch was opened with the district administration providing infrastructure and a Common Service Centre (CSC) was set up to provide government services to rural folk, including caste and income certificates.
The administration also completed the half constructed Rajiv Gandhi Seva Kendra and 20 out of 50 borewells were made functional with three-phase electricity line to augment irrigation.
The Collector roped in United India Insurance Company Limited to meet the needs. The company spent Rs 15 lakh under its Corporate Social Responsibility for providing water facilities in the schools and stationery to 400 students, besides other infrastructure.
United India Insurance General Manager C R Vijayan said the company has adopted the village to develop it further.