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Nelganti, a picture of neglect

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A Sad state of affairs: Nelganti village has not seen any development for a long time.
A Sad state of affairs: Nelganti village has not seen any development for a long time.

Vijaykumar Patil

Facilities such as bus services and PHC are not available

Residents must walk 8 km to reach the main road

Water supply is badly hit owing to power cuts

Nelganti (Belgaum District): Nelganti village, nestled against a rocky hill, presents a picture of neglect. The village with two gram panchayat seats, which falls under the jurisdiction of Suldal Gram Panchayat in Gokak Assembly constituency, has a population of about 1,500 people belonging to the Nayak, a Scheduled Tribe community. Of this, 600 people are eligible to vote. Their major source of income is from small and marginal lands and they are dependent on rainfall. A Kannada medium government higher primary school (up to 6th standard) and two community borewells is all the infrastructure Nelganti can boast of.

Other basic facilities such as bus services, roads, high school, primary health centre and a veterinary unit continue to elude the village.

Long trek

Residents must walk 8 km to reach the main road from where they board buses. The children are the worst affected as they have to walk at least 16 km a day and commute 4 km by bus to attend high school in Ankalgi, and 12 km if they study in Suldal. If a person falls ill, he or she must borrow a two-wheeler or take a goods transport vehicle or travel in a bullock cart to the nearest hospital in Ankalgi, or call 108 (Arogya Kavacha), says Parasappa Lagmappa Talwar.

“We suffer terribly during the rainy season,” said Mr. Talwar, a member of Suldal Gram Panchayat who is contesting the elections for the second time. Though there are borewells, water supply is badly affected owing to power cuts for long hours. When there is no power, the residents trek 1.5 km to fetch water from another well down the hill.

“We have been pleading with the gram panchayat members and officers in Gokak (taluk headquarters) to at least improve drinking water facilities and provide bus services to Ankalgi and Suldal (railway station), but nothing has happened. Our leaders promise development projects only during election time,” said Durgappa Kariappa Talwar, a resident.

Asked why they do not take advantage of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGREGA) for which the Centre had provided enough funds, Mr. Parasappa said there was no one who listened to them either in the gram panchayat or the taluk panchayat.

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