Koraput, March 3 (LocalWire): Irked by the lack of irrigation facilities and facing an acute drinking-water shortage, about 90 families of Camp No 5, under Kotpad block in the district, have decided to boycott the upcoming general elections.
‘Our village has only one tubewell and due to excess use, it often remains defunct. Then, we either have to walk around eight kilometres to Raimalguda or Sosahandi to fetch drinking water or are forced to consume the polluted stream water,’ said Phulamati Guntha, a villager.
‘We have complained several times to our elected representatives to provide safe drinking water but to no avail. Hence, this time we have decided to boycott the election and not cast our votes,’ said Laxmi Guntha, another villager.
The villagers originally belonged to Khiloput village under Koraput block but have been rehabilitated at the camp by the state government after their village and agricultural land got submerged after the construction of the Upper Kolab Multi-Purpose Project in the mid 80s.
They said each family was provided three acres of land for agricultural purpose during rehabilitation the land is infertile due to lack of water. ‘We have to depend on the rains because although there is a canal near the village, it is of no use since our land is on an elevation,’ said Chandra Guntha.
‘We sacrificed everything but the authorities have failed to provide us with water both for irrigational and drinking purposes,’ said Bairagi Guntha, another villager.
Officials said they are unaware about the villager’s decision to boycott the upcoming general election. ‘The problems will be looked into and steps will be taken to sort it out,’ said sub-collector (Jeypore) Loknath Dalbehera.
Congress MLA from Kotpad ChandraSekhar Majhi, on the other hand, said, ‘I raised the issue in the Assembly several times but it’s unfortunate that the problem is yet to be sorted out. Boycotting the election is not an option.
I will try to convice them to participate in the election process and all efforts will be done to ensure that their demand is fulfilled.’