Patna: Hundreds of women built a two kilometre-long road in Bihar in just three days in a rare display of grit and determination after their plight failed to move the government authorities for over a decade.
The lack of roads had led to premature death of many villagers here as none could get proper medical attention on time.
The women scripted a new chapter of determination in Banka district, some 270km east of Patna, early this week, braving the scorching sun.
Residents from several villages tucked away in rural pockets of this district had been facing hardship to commute from one place to another due to lack of proper roads. This led to the untimely deaths of many villagers who had either fallen sick or met with accidents.
In the absence of roads, the villagers had to normally carry the victims to the nearest health centres on wooden cots on foot. Most of the time, this had proved deadlier for the villagers since they failed to reach hospitals on time. The hapless villagers petitioned the authorities for a road many times, but the petitions fell on deaf ears or were caught in bureaucratic bottlenecks.
Eventually, the villagers decided to take it upon themselves to build the road. Armed with spades, shovels and baskets in their hands, more than 200 women took to the streets and dug the ground to construct a two km-long road within 72 hours, bringing joy to dozens of villages along the route. What the government could not do for more than a decade was achieved in a matter of hours.
“It was really painful during the rainy season when we weren’t able to reach even the local primary health centre barely 2.5km away owing to wet mud spread all over,” a local woman Rekha Devi told the media. According to her, many deaths took place, especially of pregnant women, as they failed to get proper medical attention due to lack of roads.
Reports said the women who offered to build the roads for free before the rainy season, even contacted local landlords who initially refused to part with their private land. However, the women convinced them to donate. The landowners relented after witnessing the zeal of the women, and thus a motorable road became a reality.
The local administration has saluted the willpower of the rural women and in honour to their grit, announced to convert the unpaved road into a proper road. “The construction of the road was not possible without acquiring private land but the women did what we couldn’t,” the local district magistrate Kundan Kumar told the media Friday.