WITH several forested villages in Dhenkanal district lacking basic facilities and infrastructure, including roads, the administration swung into action and sent teams to conduct a survey. The action came in the wake of deaths of at least 19 children in a remote forest village of Nagada in Jajpur district due to malnourishment. A team, led by Executive Engineer of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) Bijaynanda Sahoo, visited Ekul, Sekul and Kote villages in Kantol gram panchayat under Kamakshyanagar (east) reserve forest.
The villages, cut-off from mainstream, share borders with Nagada village in Sukinda block. The villagers depend on small streams for drinking water and other chores. Water from tube-well is unfit for consumption, the villagers informed Sahoo. The team, guided by tribals, visited the stream and also interacted with the locals to know about the consumption of water and other daily uses. The locals disclosed that they walk long distances for fetching water and on many occasions, the villagers fall sick and could not avail proper treatment.
Road connectivity is another major hurdle in the path of development of the villages.Talking to mediapersons, Sahoo said they plan to implement solar-based water project in the Maoist-affected villages of Kantole gram panchayat. The project cost is estimated to cost over `30 lakh for the three villages. Work will start soon but a road to the villages is necessary for implementation of all departmental projects, he added. Sahoo said the Chief Engineer of Water Supply department has given the go-ahead for construction of production well, necessary for implementing the solar project.
Besides, efforts are on to construct toilets for better sanitation and checking outbreak of diseases. Rural Development department, along with RWSS in consultation with OREDA, has implemented solar-based water supply project in 61 hamlets. They have set a target to complete 177 solar-based drinking water projects in 177 villages. Each project costs around `4.55 lakh, the RWSS Executive Engineer added.