Raipur, Jan 20 (PTI) Villagers in a worst Naxal-affected pocket in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district have decided not to wait for the government to build a small road inside their village, and have taken up the task themselves. Around 20-30 villagers have been building a 50-metre dirt lane in Palamadgdu village from the last few days, claiming that authorities never entertained their demands.
Located around 50 kms away from Sukma inside a dense forest, the village lacks road connectivity. "We are building a clay lane inside the village by ourselves after authorities failed to pay heed to our demands," a villager said on the condition of anonymity.
The development is seen as crucial in the view of the upcoming Panchayat elections is in the state. When queried whether they will vote in panchayat polls, the villager said, "We want to cast our vote but they (officials and politicians) never come here, then why we should we vote? We will not vote".
Sukma district collector Chandan Kumar has hailed the initiative taken up by the villagers. "Different works, including roads, are underway through MNREGA in 120 village panchayats out of the total 138 in the district this year. The remaining panchayats will be covered soon," the collector said.
As far as Palamadgu is concerned, since it is located in a hyper-sensitive area, it is difficult to reach there from both geographical and security point of view, he said. "It is good if villagers are building road inside their village on their own. These are innocent villagers who have faith in democracy. If they are saying that they will boycott panchayat elections, it is due to the Maoist threat," the collector said.
He said the villagers are either threatened or killed by naxals if they try to take part in electoral process. "As a result of the constant threat, villagers had to speak such things, because if they do not they don't feel safe. Naxals use the villagers as their propaganda machinery," he added. Voting for panchayat bodies will be held on January 28, January 31 and February 3. PTI CORR TKP