KENDRAPARA: A nine-year-old boy drowned in a canal after falling from a makeshift bridge made up of a lone electricity pole in Kendrapara’s Pattamundai on Sunday evening.
The deceased was identified as Abhina Jena. The shocking incident took place in Loknathpur village within Pattamundai police limits.
Sources said Abhina, a Class III student, was going to the village market to buy biscuits in the evening. While crossing the canal, he accidentally slipped from the unsafe cement pole bridge and fell into the water channel. The mishap went unnoticed.
When Abhina did not return home, his family members launched a search for him. In the night, villagers spotted the boy’s body floating in the canal. He was rushed to Pattamundai Community Health Centre where doctors declared him dead.
Nagendra Jena, a villager of Loknathpur said locals risk their lives and cross the canal by using the cement pole bridge on a daily basis. “Though it is unsafe, we have no option but to use the pole as the administration is yet to construct a bridge. Every day, villagers use the bridge to reach the Pattamundai market. Children also cross the canal using the pole bridge to attend school and return home,” he rued.
Ranjan Rout, a Class VI student of the village, said, “We are afraid to cross the canal on the cement pole. But there is no alternative. An adult always accompanies us while crossing the canal.” Around 700 people of Loknathpur depend on the cement pole to cross the canal. “During the last election, ruling BJD leaders had promised to build a bridge over the canal.
We hope Abhina’s death would open the eyes of local politicians and the administration to the risk we face every day and make way for the construction of a proper bridge over the canal,” said another villager Sangram Jena. Sarpanch of Gangarampur panchayat Santosini Jena said, “Recently, we held discussion with the block development officer about the situation in Loknathpur village. The administration assured us to build a bridge on Pattamundai canal soon.”