Tabloi Villagers Finally See Light of Bulb

For Janma Padhan (70) of Tabloi village in Deogaon gram panchayat in Maneswar block of the district, electricity was a facility meant only for people in towns and cities. So, when power supply was provided to her village on March 31, she stayed awake the whole night gazing at her house glowing in the light of the solitary bulb.

Her village, located about 50 kms from Sambalpur city, is cut off from the mainstream and bereft of all facilities. Though solar lights were provided to the village under Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for Left Wing affected areas, electricity was extended on the intervention of Collector Balwant Singh. Singh, who came across the village during a review of development projects in Maneswar block in February, ensured its development in three months.

The grid connection to the village was dedicated by Rairakhol MLA Rohit Pujari in presence of Collector, Sambalpur SP Akhilesvar Singh and DFO, Sambalpur Santosh Joshi.

The village, known for Maoist activities till some time back, is nestled in the hills of Badpati, Jamkhulia, Satpardia, Guja and Mahulkhulia. While electricity has reached the village, a lot more needs to be done to improve the living conditions of the villagers. The inhospitable terrain is a major challenge before the district administration.

To reach the village, one has to walk 15 kms through the narrow, dusty and bumpy forest road and cross a nullah. A little further, there is a big dry patch of land where villagers gather to celebrate functions. However, plans are afoot to improve the road and Maneswar BDO Pankaj Pradhan has been directed by the Collector to provide rice and pension to the villagers. The dense green cover prevents the villagers from venturing beyond the village limits to avail the benefits of Government schemes.

And they have their reasons. Forest Ranger Aswini Kumar Padhi said five wild bears had climbed upon his vehicle during one of his visits to the forested areas near the village.

The village is home to about 50 tribal and dalit families who depend on minor forest produce like Mahua flowers and agriculture for livelihood. While the only water body in the village is filled with silt, the recent digging of three tubewells takes care of the water needs though they depend on Dhama PHC for health care.

The village has a primary school and those interested to pursue high school have to travel 10 kms to either Keuntipali or Badmal through the forested road.

Villagers, now, hope other development works too would be taken up by the district administration at the earliest.

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