BERHAMPUR: Here are two panchayats in the middle of forests in Patrapur block which are situated on the hill and deprived of basic amenities even after 72 years of Independence.
Ankuli and Buratala panchayats under Chikiti Assembly segment in Ganjam district present a glaring picture of neglect. Though the segment had been represented by the BJD for last two decades, road, safe drinking water and healthcare are a distant dream for the people of around 83 villages of the two panchayats.
While most of the villages don’t have direct connectivity to the foothills, cement concrete roads have been laid near the hamlets. People of Ankuli have to cover 21 km hilly terrain via Tadakasahi or 17-km forest area via Buratal village to reach panchayat headquarters. Another way is to cross Baghalati reservoir by country boats putting their lives at risk. Sling is the only means of transportation for patients or pregnant women. The villagers have been demanding a road for decades to reach Ankuli.
Sixty four-year-old Arjun Karji of Abondia village in Ankuli said, “We never get to see our MLA or MP. Believing in their promises for development, we cast our votes, but to no avail. This time though the villagers had decided to boycott the polls, later they changed their mind. To avoid the ire of the residents, no leader turned up to campaign in the villages. Voters’ turnout in these villages was very low.”
While there is no road to Abondia, inhabited by less than 50 families, it faces acute scarcity of water. The village has no source of water other than the stream. In the absence of a proper road, it is not possible to dig borewell in the village. Women collect water from the stream near Mahalimba village by covering two km hilly terrain. “The villagers mostly eke out their living by rearing goats and poultry, collecting firewood and shifting cultivation,” said Laxmi Pradhan, a villager.
Chandra Karji, a youth of the village, said, “While the signs of destruction due to Titli are still visible, numerous people affected by the cyclone are still deprived of relief announced by the Government. No political leader or official visited us. On the other hand, we were asked to come down to the foothills to receive the meagre assistance by walking 10 km hilly terrain.”