Villagers in Odisha build wooden bridge for connectivity
They swing into action after pleas to administration went unheard
After numerous requests to the administration for all-weather connectivity to their area went unheard, inhabitants of a village surrounded by forest in Odisha’s Balangir district took it upon themselves to build a bridge.
The bridge, made of timber, is almost complete over Badanala, one of two water channels that separate Kuturakend under the Titlagarh block with outside world for four months in a year. The village is just 12 km from Titlagarh town.
“During the rainy season we remain cut off from outside due to the two water channels. At odd hours, villagers wade through water of Badanala to reach other side. We have given a number of representations at the block office, but a concrete bridge has never been built,” said Khyamaraj Bhoi, a resident of Kuturakend.
In the rainy season, whenever a patient is required to be shifted to hospital, an ambulance has to keep waiting just before nullah (water channel) and it is responsibility of villagers to cross the water channel with the patient to access ambulance services.
Moreover, people make sure that everybody returns home before evening due to overflowing Badanala in the rainy season. Even farmers and collectors of non-timber forest produce face problems in selling their produces in local market.
“A special meeting was convened and we decided to construct a wooden bridge by ourselves. We donated money for the community cause. We also contributed labour by collecting timber from the forest and erecting the bridge,” said Koushik Bhoi, another resident.
After the issue was brought to the notice of Asit Tripathy, former Chief Secretary of Odisha and Chairperson of the Western Odisha Development Council, he assured that a concrete bridge would be built over the water channel for villagers.