A pregnant woman of Mathasar village in Dediapara taluka, Narmada, Gujarat had to be carried in a cradle like structure made out of fabric and wooden staff on by four men across 70 feet wide river to avail medical care in Dediapada taluka headquarters on August 19 this year. Probably the same fate awaits the 22 pregnant women in Mathasar, Kanji and Vandari villages that has been cut off from rest of the taluka after a causeway on Dev river drowned due to rain.
The three villages that is located at about six to eight kilometres from the multicore project Statue of Unity and the tourism spot in Kevadiya village face this every year during monsoon.
“There should be a bridge in place of the causeway for the issue to be resolved. Vandari, Mathasar and Kanji villages are in the hill shadow area and villagers here have been facing this problem for years due to the low causeway,” says Bahadur Vasava, Chairman of Executive Committee of Narmada zilla Parishad.
Noticeably, Vandari one of three villages that has been cut off, was adopted by Congress Rajya Sabha MP Ahmed Patel in 2014 under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna.
“Mathasar, the largest of the three villages is about six kilometres of Sardar Patel’s Statue in Kevadiya village. The three villages are extremely underdeveloped despite being so near to the Statue of Unity where crores are being spent to develop a tourism spot. We have made several representations for the issue to local administration in past. Finally, this year MLA Mahesh Vasava had approved of the budget for an elevated causeway but the work could not commence due to the pandemic” Chaiter Vasava, a local activist told The Newsclick.
“This causeway is about ten years old and every year during monsoon it submerges and three villages suffer for about two to three months. Young people swim across the Dev river to the bank on other side to avail vehicles if they have to go out the village for work. Its difficult for women, children and old people. Livelihood, medical care, education everything takes a hit till water recedes,” he adds.
The three villages together have a population of about 5000 to 6000. According to the record of zilla panchayat, there are currently 22 pregnant women in these three villages who await delivery. Noticeably, the nearest medical facility from Mathasar, the largest of three villages, is a PHC that is located at Mosda village, about 28 kilometres away. Villagers of Mathasar have to cross the causeway on Dev river and then a bridge on Tarawali river to reach Mosda. The nearest hospital is at district headquarter Rajpipla, about 35 kilometres away of the village.
Every year before monsoon hits, the Narmada district administration asks the villagers of three villages to admit the expecting women to the taluka hospital before the causeway submerges. However, no steps have been taken to provide basic health care to these villages in years.
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