CANACONA: We may have been taken aback watching videos of people living in dense forests and how they are transporting their young children helping them to reach schools elsewhere in the country, then what would be our reaction to seeing people living in a few villages of our own State (Goa) continue to face similar situations also in the 62nd year of Liberation?
There are at least two hamlets/wards in Canacona taluka, where due to the non-availability of a proper road/pathway and culvert bridges had to carry children on their shoulders almost daily to reach their schools. You heard it right.
Some years back country’s consciousness was shaken a bit when a picture of a man carrying a boy on his shoulder crossing a river to reach his school was viral on social media.
The picture was from Peth Taluka in Nashik District of Maharashtra, where the boy had completed 12th Std by regularly traversing/commuting to his school in such situations.
At that time Goans felt proud that Goa is better placed and much more developments have penetrated every interior of any remote village.
However, people will be surprised to know, that a similar type of situation still exists in Goa state itself and in the very constituency of Canacona, where elected representatives occupied Ministerial positions in the government and the present MLA is a Speaker of the Goa Legislative Assembly.
Nadkem and Keri are two isolated residential hamlets in the deep interiors of Khotigao village having about 30 residential houses and a population of over 190.
There are about 21 children in these families who go to schools located at Yeda, pishemath and other schools.
Some of these children stay with their families living in the mainlands and or towns to avoid the perilous daily travels, there are still some children who regularly/daily go/come to school located at Nadke, crossing a river on the way.
When it rains heavily, the water in the river Nadke rises to a great extent and young children find it difficult and dangerous to cross the violently flowing rivulet, parents almost daily carry their children on their shoulders and bring them to school. Interestingly, with the rains continuously pounding the state these days, it is a regular task for the parents of the young children to carry their wardens on their shoulders to school and later bring them back home.
When asked former sarpanch of Khotigao Panchayat, Daya alias Umesh Gaonkar, informed, at the instance of former MLA/Ex-Minister/Ex-Dy Speaker Isidore Fernandes, an amount of 23 lakh rupees was approved for the construction of a culvert-bridge over this stream at Nadkem and tenders were also issued. ‘But the contractor had not started that work and the elections came, and the developmental works were not taken up till date.
Khotigao Sarpanch Anandu Desai, now informed us that a concrete culvert bridge will be constructed and the work of constructing a temporary iron bridge has been partly started to bring temporary relief to the residents of Nadkem and Keri.