JAGATSINGHPUR: Safe drinking water and motorable roads! Well, rights as basic as these still remain absent and hence issues for rural polls in Jagatsinghpur's Jhatipari village under Japa panchayat. Petty political rivalry and indifferent administration have only perpetuated the problems and the 1,400 residents are irked. So much so that such issues might guide their franchise rights.
Villagers allege that their repeated pleas to the administration to sort out problems have fallen on deaf ears. As per sources, the villagers had been demanding a separate revenue village for Jhatipari to facilitate receipt of funds for developmental activities but no one paid heed. "Mahala and Patana villages were bifurcated despite villagers' objection to it. And our repeated pleas to accord a revenue village status for development of our village has gone unheard," said a Jhatipari resident.
The villagers have threatened that if roads and drinking water supply are not provided, they will protest by not exercising their franchise in the panchayat polls. "Road nahi ta vote nahi - no road, no vote," said aggrieved villagers while taking out a protest campaign recently.
Not just roads and water, many villagers also alleged to have been deprived of housing and land documents. "Our houses were damaged in cyclone. Pipelines were damaged but no repair work has been done. So we trek miles to fetch water. Since our issues are not being heard, whatever is decided by the villagers as a whole, we will abide by it," they said in unison.
Former sarpanch of Japa panchayat Tapan Gochhyat said he wanted to take forward road construction work through MGNREGS programme but block officials did not release the fund due to political reasons. "Aggrieved, villagers have vowed to boycott the panchayat poll," he said.
Contacted, Erasama BDO Kailash Chandra Behera said that a team has been sent to Jhatipari to conduct an inquiry into the matter.