The story of Dashrath Manjhi is an inspiration to generations to come. Manjhi, a poor landless labourer, toiled for 22 years and completed a herculean task of shortening the travel between the Atri and Wazirganj of Gaya town from 55 km to 15 km—that too by cutting down the mountain with a chisel and hammer.
500 m road in nine months
A man named Prakash Goswami in Uttarakhand has now displayed a similar resolve by carving out a 500 m road by cutting the hillside in nine months to connect his village to the main road.
Goswami, a caretaker at a Mumbai household, returned to his abode in Gwar village of Bageshwar’s Garud area last year. His current earnings are around Rs 600 per day as a labourer, with his wife doing odd jobs in the village.
While talking to TOI, Gowasami, who worked from 5 am to 9 am every day since June last year to build the road, elaborated upon his achievements and struggles.
“Some stretches still need to be widened, but the road is nearly ready. Now, even four-wheelers can reach my house. Around 300 people will be benefited from this road. I received no help from the authorities or even from villagers, who often taunted me,” said Goswami.
In the remote areas of Uttarakhand, the road connectivity issue is a major one, with villages still needing access to the main roads. No car or bike can go up to houses perched on hilltops during emergencies.
Group of women constructing road in Kanda
Meanwhile, the locals in Bageshwar’s Kanda area have asked for a road for the past 20 years. And in a recent development, it was reported that a group of around 10 women commenced constructing a road on their own.
Among these women is Pushpa Devi, who echoed the concern of the locals about the plight of taking pregnant women and elderly persons to health facilities.
“Taking pregnant women and elderly persons to hospitals becomes difficult. There’s an Auxiliary Nurse and Midwife (ANM) centre in Bhandari village. To reach there, women patients have to walk a long way. We needed the road urgently,” she said.
No road connectivity to 84 villages: report
On the other hand, former village head Kishnati Bora expressed his resentment over the fact that their village, home to around 200 individuals, has not experienced any such developmental work even after getting the title of an ‘Atal Adarsh village’.
By taking into account the reports by Migration Prevention Commission, the number of villages in Uttarakhand not yet connected by roads adds up to 84 in total.
Moreover, villagers in some places have to walk 10 km to reach the main road.
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