BARIPADA: Chaksuliapada, a tribal village located on Odisha-West Bengal border, 22 km from the district headquarters town, is deprived of basic amenities such as road connectivity, electricity, drinking water, healthcare and schools. This village, due to its geographical location on Odisha-West Bengal border, is also facing the problem of overlapping jurisdictions of the governments of the two States. About 64 families are residing in the village. At least 22 families come under the jurisdiction of West Bengal Government while the rest come under Odisha Government.
A small concrete road divides the village without any change in its nomenclature. “The isolation of the village hampers economic progress of tribals here,” said Biplav Kumar Senapati, a social worker. The 22 families coming under West Bengal Government do not get basic facilities as the elders of the family, who are daily wage labourers, are depending on Odisha Government for aid. Children of these families read in Shishu Shiksha Kendra (SSK) under West Bengal but no proper schooling facility is provided to them. They have to go Gopibalavpur for higher studies, said Arnapurna Mahata, headmistress of SSK Suliapada. The rest 42 families, who are on this side of the border, face a similar fate as not a single officer or politician has visited them.
“Two tube-wells and a borewell had been installed many years ago. While one tube-well is defunct, another pumps up high fluoride content water which is unfit for use. A borewell is not sufficient to cater to the water needs of 64 families in the village. Besides, we have to cover 8 km to reach Deuli for health care facilities,” said Sapan Soren, a villager. “There is no anganwadi centre or primary school. Anganwadi centres at Nadigaon and Podadiha are situated more than 1 km away from the village,” said Sangram Murmu, another villager.
Though an SSK is on the other side of the road, it provides education only in Bengali, said the villagers. “I am not getting old-age pension despite being eligible for it. I have knocked the doors of officers but with no result. The Ward Councillor is yet to meet me after the panchayat polls,” said Dukhini Marandi, a 64-year-old woman. The villagers alleged that their grievances go unheard. “Tribal people’s participation in administration is essential for improving their livelihood,” said Kashinath Sahu, another villager.