No end to sufferings of Machhkund dam oustees
Koraput: About half a century back, the residents of Jalaput, a village that now houses more than 2,500 Odia and Telugu speaking people, on the Odisha-Andhra border had given away their ancestral land for the Machhkund hydro-power project in the larger interests of the state.
They had expected that they would get a slew of government facilities including jobs for their children. However, people of this village under Bilaput panchayat in Nandapur block still lead lives of deprivation in the absence of basic amenities, a report said.
Even as they live close to the power project, getting electricity supply is still a dream for them, it is alleged. The project authorities have also failed to provide good roads, drinking water, education and sanitation facilities to the residents who lost their land in 1965 for the project.
Though Jalaput village comes under the peripheral region of the project, the authorities always maintain a step-motherly attitude towards the residents, some villagers lamented.
While the road leading to the reservoir is in a bad shape, the authorities never take steps for collection of garbage dumped along the road.
The villagers mostly rely on hospitals of Jeypore, Koraput or Visakhapatnam as a small health centre in the village fails to offer healthcare service in the absence of doctors.
People have to depend on piped water as a tube well drilled in the village has gone defunct. However, they have to battle for every drop of water as supply gets disrupted due to frequent power outage.
Though OHPC has appointed a civil division executive engineer to ensure development of the peripheral regions, the engineer and other officials ignore the issues, the villagers alleged.
They apprised the local MLA, MP and block development officer of their problems, but to no avail, villagers added. They warned of an agitation if the district administration and the project authorities fail to look into their issues.
Civil division executive engineer Benjamin Lima said he was aware of the problems in Jalaput. Development activities would soon be taken up in the area, he assured.