Finally, there is some hope for four under-developed interior villages, including the Maoist-infested Kelo in Gurundia block.
Collector Rupa Roshan Sahu visited Kunjara, Kelo, Kantamunda and Majuridima villages and took stock of the situation, on Friday. Her visit assumes significance against the backdrop of villagers complaining that no Government officials even in the rank of BDOs have reached them with help in several decades.
The Collector assessed that road connectivity is a necessity to augment welfare services and implement development projects.
These border villages of Bonai sub-division, about 85 km from Rourkela, surrounded by mountains and forests are virtually inaccessible. Spread over a radius of 15 km, roads to these villages are non-existent. As a result, health, education, drinking water facilities and poverty alleviation programmes are in a shambles.
The Collector said her priority was to ensure road connectivity to these villages under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), adding that the administration was committed to development of these four villages.
Courtesy erratic area demarcation, these villages fall under Tamperkela, Sol and Jarda gram panchayats and the villagers have to trek between 11 and 17 km through risky forest routes to reach respective panchayat headquarters. Instead some villagers find it easy to cross over to adjacent Sambalpur district to avail of Government benefits.
Sources confided that lack of monitoring over the past several decades affected development of these villages. Later, penetration of Maoist cadres into the region made it convenient for administration officials to wilfully forget these areas.
Biswanath Bhukta, a villager of Kelo, said under these circumstances their petitions were dumped.