A tale of non-existent bridge, fake poll promises and government apathy

A cluster of villages in Antagarh block in Kanker district in Chhattisgarh have been waiting since decades for the government to build a bridge so that they don't remain cut off during monsoon.They are already dreading the monsoon, which will cut them off for five months. Those elderly who may need medical intervention won’t get any and children would miss school for nearly five months

Tameshwar SinhaTameshwar Sinha   23 July 2019 12:48 PM GMT

It's a classic case of administrative apathy. A cluster of villages in Antagarh block in Kanker district in Chhattisgarh have been waiting since decades for the government to build a bridge so that they don't remain cut off during monsoon. Every election season, politicians visit them and give them an assurance. But they forget about their existence as soon as the elections get over.

This has been happening since generations and these five-six villages are already dreading the monsoon, which will cut them off for five months from Antagarh, the main block. Those elderly who may need medical intervention won't get any and children would miss school for nearly five months.

"Because there's no bridge here I have to cross the flooded river to reach the school. Sometimes we trip and fall and then villagers have to rescue us. The kids keep waiting for us. It's very risky to commute like this," said Meena Sinha, a local teacher.


The Jaytaal river remains flooded for nearly five months. It affects local commute and education of children as it becomes difficult for the teachers to commute from Antagarh to these cluster of villages.

Elderly and school children are the ones who are the most vulnerable when the river gets flooded.

"We face lot of problems while going to the school. We can cross the river when there is less water. But when it gets flooded, it becomes difficult for us to manage. We can't go to the school. It affects our schooling," said Kameshwari, a student.

This non-existent bridge has been the bone of contention between the villagers and politicians since decade. Dharam Singh, who lives in a village which is 3 kms from Antagarh block, said: "The sarpanch and Vidhayak have been promising to build the bridge. But I have not seen it so far. During elections, the politicians visit us. They ask for our votes and then they forget about the bridge. Many governments have changed but the bridge never comes up. Next time I will not vote unless work on the bridge begins."


When deputy sarpanch of the village, Nakul was contacted, he said: "We had submitted an application to the previous MP. Our present MLA knows about it. He visited. He knows that there is no bridge here."

Incessant rainfall during monsoon and subsequent flooding sums up their everyday struggles for basic needs. They have to let go of many benefits like getting ration under Public Distribution System scheme. They have to struggle to get their quota of wheat, rice, sugar and essential fuels like kerosene.

The worst are the medical emergencies. "We leave them to their fate as we can't take them anywhere. During monsoon we leave a lot of things to the Almighty," concluded Nakul.

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