Dangerous river crossing for students; When the fate of South Odisha will change?
Residents of five villages in Daringbadi block of Kandhamal district (around 200 km from Berhampur city in South Odisha) including women and school going children allegedly risking their life every day to cross a small river through a makeshift hanging bridge made up of rope.
It is no less than a dangerous tightrope walk performed by acrobats in circuses. Five villages whose residents are forced to tread this risky route are Gobatbadi, Kudimanja, Laribadi, Baligada and Aadagadu of Simanbadi panchayat. To reach the local panchayat office, school and market at Simanbadi, residents of these villages have to cross the Tikapata river near Gobatbadi. Villagers are demanding for bridge at the spot for a long time. The condition worsens during monsoon.
Speaking to The Hindu , Block Development Officer of Daringbadi, S.Sharma, said an alternative route exists for these villagers, which they are not using. According to him a bailey bridge exists at a small distance from these villages near Dakarbadi, that had been constructed at a cost of around Rs 1 crore. “If inhabitants of these five villages use this bridge to reach Simanbadi they would have to travel an extra 500 metres to one kilometre more than if they opt for the dangerous crossing of the river,” he said
Officials accept that around 15 years back construction of a bridge had been started near Gabatbadi, which has not got completed yet. Few pillars of the half constructed bridge still exist in the area. Construction of this bridge had been stopped due to technical reasons as no soil test had been conducted before start of construction and later soil test had hinted that the spot was not suitable for the purpose.
On Wednesday, the BDO along with the sub-collector of Baliguda, A. Saha reached these five villages to hold discussion with inhabitants about the issue. Social activist of Daringbadi area Kailash Dandapat said in last 15 years construction technology has evolved a lot and advanced technology should be used to construct a bridge over the river at the spot where villagers cross it dangerously.