Chinnoorpettai, a village of 63 families and a population of over 350, is in dire need of a bridge. Tucked away in the backyard of Karaikal, behind Bharathiar College of Technology, lies this fishing village in Chandrapadi panchayat of Nagapattinam district.
Cut away from its panchayat by a river and in the absence of a bridge across the river, the villagers lack accessibility.
The villagers need a 900-metre approach road to the river and a bridge across it. Since Chandrapadi panchayat has ration shop, middle school and Primary Health Centre.
People carry as head load provisions from the ration shop and wade through the river. During monsoon, the village is completely cut off and so is the access to the ration shop.
While Chinnoorpettai has a primary school up to standard V, children have to cross the river to the middle school in Chandrapadi. During monsoon, the roaring river makes it impossible.
“I have a cycle given by the government, but I can't use it as there is no proper pathway and bridge,” says Renuka Devi of Standard VII.
Girls own cycles distributed by the previous government but the river and the absence of pathway have rendered them useless. So, it is a daily ordeal to traverse some 900 meters on foot and then wade through knee-deep water in summer to reach Chandrapadi.
The biggest causality has been health care accessibility and education primarily of adolescent girls.
People's attempts to create a pathway have been hindered by certain other factors. According to Mathiazhagan, member, Ward 3 of Chandrapadi Panchayat, certain portions of the area leading to the river was bought by a private company 15 years ago for shrimp farming, but remains unused after the villagers were against having such a facility in their midst.
“We have placed this request in almost all gram sabha meetings and even visiting officials feel the village needs the bridge. But, it never fructifies,” says Mr. Mathiazhagan.
If one takes a detour from Chinnoorpettai through Thiruvettakudi in Karaikal to reach Chandrapadi panchayat, it would entail a distance of 20 km. Whereas, a bridge would reduce the distance to less than two km.
While free television sets have reached each household here, their demands for real access to welfare entitlements remain to be fulfilled.