BARIPADA: Situated on the foothills of Similipal Biosphere Reserve, Batesahi of Bakala village stands as a testament to the perpetual neglect of the ruling dispensation. Even after 72 years of Independence, basic amenities are still a far cry for inhabitants of the tribal hamlet.
Batesahi falls under the jurisdiction of Jashipur Assembly segment which is being represented by BJD MLA Mangal Singh Mudi. The village is just around 15 km away from Jashipur town.Roads, safe drinking water, healthcare and education remain a distant dream for the villagers despite the various welfare schemes launched by both the Centre and State Government for uplift of backward sections of the society.
Sans proper roads, the villagers have no direct connectivity to Jashipur town. They have to walk around 2 km on a narrow route through Bakala to reach a PMGSY road. The villagers have been demanding for a motorable road since decades.
Worse still, the villagers are forced to consume contaminated pond water due to unavailability of safe drinking water. While one of the two tube-wells is lying defunct since the last two years, water of the other is unfit for use due to high content fluoride. “We have to walk six km to reach neighbouring Sanaposhi village to fetch clean drinking water from RWSS,” said Baishakhi Hembram, a villager.Use of pond water has led to outbreak of skin diseases, chicken pox and other ailments among the villagers. Making matters worse, the inhabitants of Batesahi have no access to healthcare facilities or even an anganwadi centre.
Moreover, though a primary school is there, the dropout rate is on rise due to irregularity of teachers in taking classes. Only four tribal families have received land pattas under the Forest Right Act while the rest continue to remain landless. Children of landless families are facing difficulties in getting certificates from the local tehsil office as they lack land pattas. “Though we have approached the officials concerned for land pattas repeatedly, it has failed to yield any result,” said Bishnu Purti, a local.
Another local Mahendra Hembram said the villagers are yet to see their MLA and MP. “Since no candidate has visited the village for campaigning this time, we have decided to boycott the polls,” he said.“Why should we vote when our basic demands are yet to be fulfilled?” asked Arjun Alda. He said only two girls of the hamlet have been able to clear the matriculation examination and that too five years back.
Jashipur BDO Anupama Ghose said she is unaware of the problems of Batesahi villager as no one has brought this issue to her notice. However, the BDO assured to take necessary steps after inquiring into the matter.