The residents of Baner and Balewadi areas in Pune came together on Sunday to construct an approach road to a school for the convenience of students. After several failed attempts to convince civic authorities to take up the construction, women in the area decided to lead a citizen movement and build the road themselves, which is about 500-metres-long.
They brought people together, arranged raw materials and road-levelling machinery, and also joined hands with others for the actual work.
Authorities were not taking up the construction project for the last six years because it was stuck in a dispute between Pune Municipal Corporation, Sus Panchayat and Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA) authorities. This led to many problems for students because the stretch was covered with potholes and it would get worse during the monsoons. Parents and residents even e-mailed and tweeted to union ministers, but there was no impact.
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This was when they formed a virtual group on WhatsApp and decided to construct a make-shift road themselves, under the supervision of mothers of some school students. They arranged for a team of labourers to help the group, started working at 10:00 am on Sunday, worked till late in the afternoon, and then resumed on Monday.
“We have done this for our children who have been suffering because of the poor condition of the road. My vehicles too have suffered from it. There are many who come on two-wheelers and walk all the way to the school. The least they deserve is a levelled road. It was all about getting everyone together,” the woman who was the first to lead the initiative told The Times of India.