Monsoons in India are both a blessing and a curse for many. While the rains bring much-needed relief after the summer months and help the seasonal crops in India grow, it also leads to water-logging, flooding and in some cases, cutting off communication of parts. A village in Odisha’s Balangir district is one such village. With the onset of every monsoon, the village in Kuturakend, Titilagarh block of Balangir district gets cut off from the rest of the world due to a small stream, which doesn’t have a bridge on it. The villagers, who have been requesting the administration to build a bridge to facilitate travel over the stream in the monsoon months, finally have taken the matter into their own hands.
Kuturakenda village under Mahulapada gram panchayat in Titlagarh block is surrounded by three streams or ‘nullahs’ which have high water flow for half of the year. With every monsoon, the water level reaches about 6 feet, marooning the villagers to their spot for about three months, reports Odisha Bytes. For the last several years, the villagers have been demanding a wooden bridge as the rising water level leaves them without access to healthcare, schools or even basic necessities.
“Our village is situated in dense forest and the road condition is very bad. We have to cross the nullahs to go outside the village. During rainy season, it is impossible to cross the nullahs which flow with 6-ft water,” a villager was quoted as saying by Odisha Bytes.
“It’s difficult to commute during rains. Every year govt promises to construct it, but to no avail,” another local told ANI.
Finally, tired of administrative inaction, the villagers took matter into their own hands and are constructing a wooden bridge to help them cross the river. The villagers used collected bamboo and wood planks from their own houses and nearby forests and put in the labour themselves to build the bridge. They claimed that it the bridge is strong enough for even children to use during highest level of water from the stream.
#WATCH | Odisha: Villagers of Kuturakend, Titilagarh block of Balangir district are constructing a wooden bridge claiming administration failure. “It’s difficult to commute during rains. Every year govt promises to construct it, but to no avail,” said a local (29.07) pic.twitter.com/gbs5Z6UjdM— ANI (@ANI) July 30, 2021
Reacting to the news of the wooden bridge being built, Principal Advisor to Chief Minister and Chairman, WODC Asit Tripathy has thanked the villagers for their efforts for a common cause.
“I appreciate their efforts. Besides labour, villagers have also contributed monetarily. The wooden bridge is temporary, a permanent bridge over the nullah will be constructed soon,” said Tripathy.
“I appreciate their efforts. Besides labour, villagers have also contributed monetarily. The wooden bridge is temporary, a permanent bridge over the nullah will be constructed soon,” said Asit Tripathy, Principal Advisor to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik (29.07) pic.twitter.com/NSAT3MC8CK— ANI (@ANI) July 30, 2021
The Odisha village isn’t alone in its self-reliant endeavour forced by administrative inaction. Last week, locals of a West Bengal village started the work of digging a kilometre-long road connecting their village after repeated complaints to the Panchayat and Block authorities had been of no avail. The villagers of Shantipur in Sahapur Panchayat under the old Malda block in Malda district of West Bengal have been suffering for years due to lack of a road to the village. The only way to get to the other side of the village is to walk through mango orchards, deep rice fields, or by crossing the Railway line. Around five hundred families live in Shantipur.