After furor on social media of the videos and photos that showed women, elderly persons and youngsters dangerously balancing themselves on the 60-metre long rope while river flew below their feet, the Kandhamal district administration removed the rope and cable wires which the villagers used to cross the river.
On Wednesday, the photos and videos of poor tribals of Birindipada village of Kandhamal district crossing the Kalipenu stream, a tributary of Khadag river, had gone viral on social media with several people slamming the state government over its failure in building a bridge over the river.
The videos and photos showed women, elderly persons and youngsters dangerously balancing themselves on the 60-metre long rope while a river was flowing down below.
“It has been our only way of getting to Gunjibadi gram panchayat office for collecting our foodgrains and get several other social assistance schemes. During rainy days as well as other days we use the ropes to get across. But after the video was shown on TV, the local BDO and other officials came today and removed it. We are now helpless,” said Nakula Pradhan, a tribal farmer of Birindapada village as reported in HT.
On the other hand, Sub-collector of Baliguda, Subhankar Mohapatra said as there is a well-connected permanent bridge over Kalipenu river connecting Brindapada village to Gunjibadi gram panchayat, the administration removed the rope and cable wires which the villagers used to cross the river.
Sub- Collector said, “The permanent bridge is only 2 km away from Brindapada. But to cut corners, the villagers are using this unsafe ropeway occasionally. The ropeway has been removed immediately and people asked to use the permanent bridge.”
However, the sarpanch of Gunjibadi gram panchayat said the district administration’s advice to the people of Brindapada was not practical as they have to travel 4 km of hilly roads to reach the new bridge that has been constructed 5 years ago.
“From the bridge, they would have to travel another 8 km to reach the gram panchayat office. But if they take the ropeway, they just have to cover less than 4 km to reach the gram panchayat office,” said Gunjibadi sarpanch Lingaraj Pradhan
Sarpanch also added that it‘s not just Brindapada, at least 4 more villages in his panchayat faced the same problem of reaching the panchayat office as they have to cross the Kalipenu river. “For over 500 people of Taperikia, Tipidinga, Bagadi and Guduripada villages under Gunjibadi panchayat, the ropeway is the only means of getting across the river. Like Bindapada, we have been demanding small bridges across the river near those villages for years together,” he said.
When the video went viral people on social media started to question the development work of Naveen Patnaik Government. They also tagged Kandhamal MP Achyuta Samasta, who is also famous for his philanthropic work.
Written By – Shilpa Dey
Image – Google