After the government failed to build a road in a particular area in Bihar, the women of the Banka district came together to build one themselves. Because there was no road in Bounsi block in Banka, the residents of Nima, Jorarpur and Durgapur villages were facing a huge challenge of connectivity with other places. And this issue would worsen during the monsoon season.
“We could not even get to the block headquarters, hardly 2.5km from our village. Many deaths have occurred — especially of pregnant women — as they could not reach the health centres in time,” said Rekha Devi, a middle-aged homemaker from Nima to The Telegraph.
The villagers requested to the village authorities many times for a road, but to no avail. “Some three-four years ago, the local administration initiated land acquisition to build a road but due to protests by landowners the plan had to be abandoned,” Jhalo Devi, also a Nima resident, told the newspaper.
“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.”
So before the monsoon season began, over 130 women homemakers from the village came together and built the road in three days with little help from men. But before they started building the road, they met with the landowners to give up some parts of their lands for space to lay the road. While they refused in the beginning, seeing that the women are quite adamant about it, they agreed to their demands.
They told The Telegraph that the women’s enthusiasm convinced them. “We also realised the pain of the villagers,” said Arjun Manjhi, another landowner.
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Usha Devi from Nima, who was part of the group of women that built the road talked about how they started with their project, “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.”
The road connects the village with Bholi Baba Ashram Road near the Bounsi fair ground.
Banka district magistrate Kundan Kumar also praised the women’s effort and said, “Without taking the private land, the road was not possible; the government could not just take private land. But when the village women initiated the road work, the same landowners gave their consent.”
He has also instructed Bounsi block development officer Amar Kumar Mishra to convert the new road into a pucca one.