Balasore, Aug 6: Residents of a village in orissa’s Balasore district erected a bridge without any help of the government.
In a great effort of cooperation the villagers of Brahmanda gram panchayat (GP) in Basta block of the coastal district, which was badly hit by the recent flash floods, have erected a wooden bridge, which will be useful for over 50,000 people residing in at least ten villages.
“We have erected the bridge on a 200-m long and 30-m deep breach caused by the swirling flood waters of river Jalaka. It has now become a life line for thousands of local residents,” said Gopal Behera, a resident of Gohiragadia village.
The bridge was completed two days ago. The villagers however first urged the district administration to repair the bridge, but the authorities allegedly didn’t pay heed towards their demand.
Disappointed with the authorities, the villagers decided to construct the wooden bridge as lack of communication turned to be a major problem for them. “Due to the absence of the bridge, patients could not be hospitalised in time,” Behera said.
“We informed district collector, Panchayatiraj Minister and local legislator Raghunath Mohanty, but none took the matter as a concern. We then decided to erect the bridge on our own,” said Nimai Charan Sethi, another resident of Gundurimara village.
“We have spent around Rs 10,000 for the erection. We first started collecting money from the villagers whom we help crossing the breach with the help of rubber tubes. Rest we donated substantially,” Sethi added.
With the linking of the two sides of the breach through the wooden bridge, many requirements of villagers are being met. People, especially patients and students have benefited a lot from the new bridge.
“The local people, in a show of community empowerment and solidarity, resolved to do what the government willfully forgot to do,” said Bhaskar Jena, a social activist.
The credit for this initiative however goes to a group of 12 to 13 youth of the GP who took the initiative. “It was due to these youngsters that other villagers got motivated and joined in the endeavour to erect the wooden bridge,” Ghanashyam Behera, a local resident told.
Meanwhile, the villagers have demanded to repair the breach as quick as possible.
Balasore Collector Alekh Chandra Padhiary besides appreciating the villagers’ endeavour, said, “These villagers have set an exemplary initiative for others by erecting the wooden bridge with their own funds.” He however assured that the breach would be repaired once the government releases funds for it. (EOM)