pinak pani chowdhury
BALURGHAT, 28 JUNE: When the people across the state are excited with the clouds over the rural polls having dispersed at the intervention of the Supreme Court, most of the residents of seven villages ~ Pirojpur, Baram, Gobindapur, Udail, Golabari, Mohona, Barahar and Nakkati in the Kumarganj block in South Dinajpur district ~ have sounded indifferent.
“It matters little whether the rural polls would be held according to the old or new schedule. We have lost interest as we know, given our experiences, that the polls would not change the texture of our life in the least,” said a villager of Pirojpur.
The reasons behind the villagers’ apathy are nor far to seek. They have been facing a tough time, as a 12-km stretch of the road connecting Kumarganj-Patiram with Pirojpurmore, Baram, Gobindapur, Udail, Golabari, Mohona, Barahar and Nakkati has remained in a deplorable shape for the past 10 years. The road is dotted with potholes and craters which have made the traffic crawl. The villagers are used to small patch- up work here and there initiated by the zilla parishad just before the polls. “We are fed up with false promises being trumpeted at the behest of the leaders across the political spectrum. We know that our plight would not improve, vote or no vote,” said a villager.
The Kumarganj-Patiram road had suffered extensive damage about five years ago as heavy rains lashed the area. Small potholes coalesced into huge craters. Earlier, several private vehicles used to pile along the stretch. But following the damage to the road, the owners of many private vehicles like buses, trekkers and auto-rickshaws have withdrawn their fleet. The dwindling number of vehicles keeps inconveniencing the daily commuters.
“Over the past four years, most of the buses and trekkers have stopped plying. We are at the receiving end of the administrative apathy to repair the roads,” said a local resident and a small trader from Barahar village, Mr Saidul Mondal.
Another villager from Baram, Mr Dilip Das, said: “The villagers face trouble daily as many high and primary schools, post-offices, cooperative societies are located along the stretch.”