.........BERHAMPUR: Women with empty vessels staged a road block at Sahaspur village under Pattapur panchayat between Digapahandi and Aska on Tuesday demanding provision of safe drinking water.
The women claimed that a borewell with overhead tank constructed at Pattapur in December last year supplied water to Pattapur, Sahaspur and Chudangapur villages through pipeline. But it stopped functioning after a couple of days leaving the villagers scurrying for every drop.
Taking advantage of the situation, unidentified miscreants removed pipelines and stand posts to sell those as scrap and make money. After their appeals to local RWSS officials failed to yield any result, the residents were meeting their daily needs by collecting water from ponds and tubewells. But now with the sources drying up and tubewell water emitting bad odour, their struggle for water has worsened.
Aggrieved over the indifferent attitude of the administration, more than 200 women blocked the road. The blockade was withdrawn following an assurance from BDO Naresh Chandra Sabar to initiate measures and solve the problem.
Meanwhile, RWSS officials, on condition of anonymity, said construction of the projects was entrusted to outside contractors, who left the work incomplete. Locals alleged that substandard and incomplete work failed to yield any result. They also urged the district administration to initiate action against the erring contractors. All this despite the fact that Pattapur was honoured with the best panchayat award this year.
Daily wagers work in intense heat
Berhampur: Even as the State Government has passed a directive not to engage labourers in construction works from 11 am to 3 pm due to intense heatwave, it seems to have little impact on construction agencies. A Madhya Pradesh-based construction company, which is undertaking construction of Soroda- Badagada State Highway 38, has been engaging labourers, including women and children, in the road works. A labourer, requesting anonymity, said they have to work to earn their daily wage. Staff of the company refused to comment. At least eight persons have reportedly died of sunstroke but district administration has not confirmed the cases yet.