In rural India, very little development work happens without government officials exercising their responsibilities. For the people of the Nima village in Bihar’s Banka district, the lack of a functional road was causing real problems, and sometimes even the death of ordinary folk.
Fed up of dealing with an unresponsive administration and stubborn landowners who would not part with their land, 130 women of the Nima village took matters into their own hands, pooled their resources and constructed a 2 km road, reported Telegraph.
“It (lack of a road) was especially painful during the rainy season,” a Nima resident told Telegraph. “We could not even get to the block headquarters, hardly 2.5 km from our village. Many deaths have occurred—especially of pregnant women—as they could not reach the health centres in time.”
The women behind this road construction said that three or four years ago, the government began working on the village road project, but it didn’t amount to anything.
“Some three-four years ago, the local administration did initiate land acquisition to build a road but due to protests by landowners the plan had to be abandoned,” Jhalo Devi, a Nima resident, told the publication.
However, seeing the women in action and their intense desire to construct a village road, the erstwhile stubborn landowners gave up their property.
Once the women received all the necessary consent from landowners, they constructed the road in three days with some assistance from the men in the village.
“Many women from the two villages, Jorarpur and Durgapur, also joined us. The men in our homes first completed the groundwork. We carried sand, soil and stones from the riverbank nearby and barren lands. We would start work at sunrise and end in the evening. Now, light vehicles can easily ply on the road,” Usha Devi, another resident of Nima told the publication.
The Banka district administration has praised the efforts of these women.
“It was impossible to build the road without taking the private land, but the government could not just acquire it. However, when the village women initiated the road work, the same landowners gave their consent,” district magistrate Kundan Kumar told the publication.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)