BALASORE: A bridge over Subarnarekha river near Pantai of Bhograi block of Balasore district, about 90 km from the district headquarters town, has been a long cherished dream of people living in this area. Locals alleged that the Government had remained apathetic towards this matter. The locals demanded immediate construction of the bridge over the river to end their problems related to communication, flood and about economic instability. Subarnarekha is one of the largest rivers in northern part of the State.
Commuters use ferry services to travel to Baliapal, Basata and district headquarters Balasore. They have to wait for hours for boats to arrive. Moreover, they often ignore problems of overloading and carry motorcycles, cycles and other heavy accessories on the boats, in the absence of the bridge.
“Commuters have been demanding bridge over Pantai Ghat. This will be shortcut to reach Balasore. Instead of 90 km, locals will have to cover only 68 km,” said Muralidhar Sahu, a retired army staffer in Rashalpur village near the river. “We are compelled to travel by boats to reach places near Baliapal and Balasore town. There is no alternative for transportation,” said Gajendra Parida of Pantai village.
The former sarpanch of Bishnupur panchayat Gunakar S said ambulances are not able to reach the villages due to lack of road. Despite making pre-poll promises, no politician ever paid any heed to people’s demand, the villagers said. Most of the villages in Baliapal and Bhograi blocks remain cut-off from the district headquarters town during the rainy season. None of the political leaders of Bhograi or Baliapal block has ever raised the issue.
According to sources, a team of officials had visited the river five years ago and conducted a survey for construction of the bridge. However, nothing has been done so far. “Construction of the bridge will improve medical services, communication facilities and economic condition of the people in these blocks of the district,” said Abani Kumar Chand, a resident of Nachanda panchayat of Bhograi block. Meanwhile, MLA Ananta Das asserted that the bridge would be constructed. “The bridge will be constructed when coastal highway will come up between Digha and Gopalpur,” Das added.