For the longest time, the villagers of Shahbajpur Istmurar in the Rewari district of Haryana battled scorching heat and torrential rains to board buses. Reason? The village which is home to over 2,000 people had no bus stand.
And so, in the rough weather, with no shelter in place, the women, children and especially, senior citizens would wait long hours under the open skies. Many times, these pedestrians would become victims of road accidents.
When the villagers urged the panchayat and related authorities to build a bus stand to avoid such instances, their petitions fell on deaf ears.
And while the apathy of the administrators was disappointing, the villagers failed to be bogged down. When authorities failed, they decided to take the matter into their own hands. They started collecting funds from the villagers and built the bus stand themselves.
Today, this village with a population of about 2,000 has become an exceptional example of citizen proactiveness.
Speaking to Navbharat Times, the village sarpanch, Atar Singh, revealed how he tried to escalate the grievances of the villagers to the development authorities. But they failed to pay heed. So two villagers, namely Mangturam and Krishna, mobilised the community to fund the construction of the bus stand.
The villagers extended their unconditional support and pooled in Rs 50,000 to arrange for electricity, water and tin sheets, to build the structure. Everyone who passed by this bus stand did not fail to marvel at the handiwork of the villagers.
Mangturam, who is now retired, has also taken up the responsibility of the maintenance and repair work of the bus stand. The villagers have also beautified the space by planting saplings.
The idea to build the bus stand was also credited to the youth who made sure that they did not take a penny from the panchayat and crowdfunded the entire project.
While it is unfortunate that those bound to cater to the needs of these villagers failed at their duty, it is delightful to see a rural community being passionate about bringing in change and development, despite resistance from external factors!
Kudos to these villagers who proved that a village could be more self-sufficient than most cities and spark change.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)
Feature image in-set credit: Navbharat Times