Rattled by the death of a young girl who fell off a dilapidated bamboo bridge, a retired gentleman decided to do something that most wouldn’t.
Santu Prasad, a resident of the Kushinagar district of Uttar Pradesh, was deeply disturbed after a young girl lost her life after falling off the bridge and drowning in the drain.
Using over three lakhs from his provident fund after his retirement and taking some financial help (as part of shramdaan) from villages in the vicinity, Santu built a 70-feet long, strong permanent bridge.
For decades, the bridge that existed before the new construction was made of bamboo and ran over the silent drain passing through a small village in the Kaptanganj Block. And though crossing the bridge was life-threatening, people faced with no choice would risk lives and cross it, to avoid taking longer routes.
Every time the bridge broke down, people in the village would repair it themselves. Despite several pleas to MPs and MLAs, they received no help. There were empty promises but no groundwork.
In July 2013, their worst fears came true when the bridge broke down, and a young girl fell into the drain and drowned to death.
At the time, Santu had retired from his railway job and returned to the village. After being informed about the unfortunate incident, he decided to build a permanent bridge to avoid any other deaths.
According to a Navbharat Times report, the man received Rs 13 lakh rupees in PF after retirement, while his pension came up to Rs 15,500.
And though he gave about Rs 10 lakh to his sons, he decided to use the remaining three lakhs to build the bridge.
Moved by his selfless act, many other villagers came forward to pledge their support. While someone offered iron, others offered cement, and many others offered money.
Today, this bridge is strong enough to accommodate pedestrians as well as cyclists.
Owing to the construction of this bridge, the distance from over 12 villages to the Kaptanganj block headquarters has reduced from five kilometres to just one. This bridge has come as a sigh of relief, benefitting over 10,000 residents from villages including Somali, Pemli, Barwat, Jamuni, Narayan Bhadar, Bhadsar etc., to reach the district headquarters.
Regional legislator Ramananda Buddha told the publication that Santu Prasad would be honoured for his work.
We salute Santu and the villagers who decided to take matters into their hands to ensure the safety of their people!
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)