BARIPADA: ALL that the natives of the hilly Dangadiha village on the foothills of Similipal Tiger Reserve seek is a small bridge over Salindi river. Just a small one.It has been 75 years since Independence but this Mayurbhanj village cut off from the mainland by river Salindi has gone out of sight and out of mind for the administration.
This revenue village under Champajhar panchayat in Thakurmunda block is located 12 km from panchayat office and at a distance of 25 km from the block headquarters. Home to 114 tribal families with a population of around 800, it continues to cry out for road connectivity, drinking water, education and health care.
Every year, locals repair the make-shift bamboo bridge to cross over for daily business. Recently a 62-year-old man Gajila Banra drowned when he was crossing the river. Their woes compound during the monsoons, more so, during medical emergencies when villagers are forced to carry patients on cots. The nearest health centre is the community health centre (CHC) at Thakurmunda, more than 20 km away. Villagers say that they bring up the issue and seek permanent bridge every year to officials but none has paid heed.
Dangadiha comprises three settlements of which Bangali Sahi and Bal Sahi are located on the far side of Salindi river. To access anganwadi centre at Bangali Sahi, expectant women and children from Ghutu Sahi have to cross the bamboo bridge. Same for Bangali Sahi and Bal Sahi residents as the primary school is in Ghutu Sahi.
“Every year, we repair the bamboo bridge and risk our lives to cross the river but our demand for a permanent bridge has failed to grab attention,” said 35-year-old Mamata Bankira.
Villagers Dulumu Ho and Damodar Pingua said they met the BDO and tehsildar many times but not a single demand has been attended to.
Bereft of basic amenities for decades, tribals of the remote village are ready to boycott the upcoming panchayat polls to make their point. Contacted, Karanjia Sub Collector Rajanikanta Biswal said he discussed with executive engineer (EE) of Rural Development (Karanjia) about construction of a bridge to the village.“I will soon visit the village with BDO, tehsildar and EE. Necessary steps will be taken after assessing the situation there,” he said.