Reported by Ranjan Rath
Malkangiri, Dec 25:
Even a year after Maoists destroyed the Padia block office in Malkangiri district of Odisha in an explosion, the block office is still without a building and is functioning out of a small conference hall in the premises.
All officials of the block, including the BDO, work out of the hall. Besides periodic training programmes, the hall is also the venue for the distribution of food to beneficiaries.
With over 80 per cent of the papers destroyed in the blast triggered by the Maoists exactly a year ago, the people of the area are facing a lot of difficulties in accessing services from the the block, which caters to 57,358 residents apread over 10 Grampanchayats.
It may be noted that more than a hundred Maoists had blasted off the office on Dec 25, 2013 destrying important documents of beneficiaries, furniture and electronics equipment in the process.
The under-construction new building was first blasted off by Maoists in 2010 forcing officials to operate from the old office. But even the old building was destroyed in the explosion tirggered by the Maoists last year.
“We are at the receiving end of these explosions which destroyed documents. As a result, we are missing out on welfare schemes of government,” says Jaga Karami of Nanurguda village.
“An order was issued to sanction us houses under the ‘Indira Awas Yojana’ in 2012-13. However, the houses still remain half complete as our documents are missing in the block. We have submitted our documents, but that has not helped. We are compelled to live in mud-huts for no fault of ours,” adds Dula Kabasi of Gathanpalli village.
Padia BDO Gangadhar Patra, however, exudes confidence that work on a new office building would start soon. ‘Funds have already been sanctioned for a new office building and tenders would be floated soon after government approval,’ he told OST. Nearly 80 per cent of the documents destroyed have also been recreated, he added.
The BDO, however, admitted that contractors are wary of taking up construction work due to the fear of Maoists.