Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Chhatrapur, Feb 5:
Even after 67 years of independence, electricity eludes two villages in Dhunkapada panchayat under Polasara block in Odisha’s Ganjam district, predominantly inhabited by tribals and dalits.
“Neither former minister Ramkrushna Patnaik nor Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik addressed our concerns. No one is concerned about our villages which are still in dark. Only god can help us,” rues village elderly Nakul Nahak.
The two villages– Thanapalli and Ramkrushna Nagar– under Dhunkapada panchayat do not have power supply for the last 67 years. While Thanapalli village has 12 dalit families, Ramkrushna Nagar has 70 families comprising of tribal and dalit families. The villages were under the constituency represented by former legislator Ramkrushna Patnaik.
Notably, the state government has chalked out a plan to provide electricity to every household in the state by 2019 with an expenditure of Rs 2, 000 crore. In Ganjam district alone, For Ganjam district alone, Rs 242.80 crore will be spent by 2019 for total electrification.
The sarpanch Arati Pradhan, who represents the panchayat, had got the privilege to meet the US President Barrack Obama. But, these two villages are still suffering due to lack of infrastructure.
In 1988, 38 families were provided home under Indira Awas Yojna (IAY) due to the initiative of former minister Ramkrushna Patnaik after which the village has been named after him.
The villagers, which is now home to nearly 70 families, approached Ramkrushna Pantiak, district administration authorities and even now Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. All their representations fell into deaf ears.
After severe cyclonic storm Phailin in 2014, social organisations had distributed solar lamps to the villagers providing them much-needed respite from darkness. But, the villages have again plunged into darkness after the lamps have become defunct.