Rocky Road Blues

Thirty years ago the road connecting Badamal Panchayat to the rest of Sambalpur District in Odisha was built and greeted with a huge sigh of relief. They would now not remain stuck in the little hamlet and others would be able to come visit them. Their hopes and the road have since turned into a stretch of rubble that gets crumbles further with each passing vehicle. A 150 villages from five village panchayats depend on this road for their daily commute. It is their lifeline to food, education and health care. The road hasn’t been repaired ever since it was constructed. “Even 20 years ago, when Biju Pattnaik was the Chief Minister, buses used to ply on this road. For the last four five years, no cars or buses can come on the road”, recalls Brahmananda Pradhan a resident of Badamal. The local Public Distribution Scheme Shop that distributes their food supplies also uses this road. When it is difficult for a bike to come down without toppling over, can you imagine what it must be like to get a truckload of rations? While the dealers try to deliver services, they can’t help but stop it during the monsoon. Not too far away, a private public partnership worth Rs. 1,293 Crores  is going to result in a swanking new four lane highway between Sambalpur and Rourkela cities. Is it to transport steel easily? Is it because these are large cities, they get preference? At the same time the Government of Odisha announced  that it would be spending Rs.1,870 Crores on cement roads in rural areas of the State. Will you make sure that they money is properly spent? Call to Action: Please call Pradipta Kumar Panda, the Sub-Divisional Officer of the Rural Works Department of Sambalpur District on 09438289668 and ask him to fix the road immediately.

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