Khunti: The delay in the construction of bridges over rivers connecting some villages in the Maoist-hit region of Jharkhand has increased the villagers` distress, particularly during floods in monsoon.
The villagers have to swim or cross the river by carrying luggage on their heads or shoulders.
Local media reported that the tender for bridge construction was issued couple of years ago but due to continuous threats by Maoist rebels, the construction work has been delayed.
In fact, one of the contractors hired for construction of the bridge was murdered, leading to further delay.
"This scheme was introduced by BPDP (Bihar Plateau Development Project) and according to reports of the contractors who were working here, one of them got murdered. BPDP`s scheme was sponsored by the World Bank. After its association with World Bank got over, much attention was not given to this project," said Shamim, a local.
Locals said that a bridge over the river flowing in the region would reduce the distance between the villages manifold.
"How much can we complain? We face a lot of problems, while commuting from one place to another. Be it animals or people, it becomes very difficult to cross the river and go to the other side. If someone dies, then how can we take the body across the river quickly?," said Bunneshwar Singh.
District officials assert that the construction work would resume soon and villages would be extensively linked to one another.
"We have attracted a lot of attention because of this. Once the bridge construction is done, Bano would be linked to Rania. Lot of work would be done easily. People can travel from one place to another easily," said Rakesh Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, Khunti.
Fearing violent attack by Maoists, several villagers moved out a couple of years ago and relocated themselves in nearby towns and cities, in search of their daily bread, education and most importantly, peace.
According to analysts, the Maoists oppose all development activity such as the construction of roads, schools, hospitals and drinking water facilities, which the administration has tried to take up.
Contractors are killed, schools are burnt, electric poles are destroyed and activities, which could lead to development, are halted. For, if development comes to the area, Maoists fear that their support base will diminish.