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Ignored by Dispur, villagers team up to build bridge

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  3 Sep 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Notwithstanding its tall talk, Congress government continues to neglect the inter-state border areas

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, Sept 2: On May 31, 2011, Hajo was witness to one of the worst road tragedies when around 30 people were killed in a collapse of a wooden bridge. The State's Congress government had immediately announced that all wooden bridges in the State will be converted to RCC bridges.

Since more than two years now, villagers in around Ranibari in West Guwahati constituency have been pleading with the government to at least repair a dilapidated wooden bridge in their area - a vital link for more than four villages along the Assam-Meghalaya border - but all in vain.

Eventually, the villagers decided to team up, raise some money and repair it all by themselves.

On Tuesday, around 150 locals were out in the area with bamboo, wood and construction tools and began repairing the bridge. The repair work continued even on Wednesday.

The village is just around 50 km from Dispur - the State's seat of power.

"Residents of the four villages - Dolongbolong, Umsur, Jimirgaon and Mataikhar had submitted several memoranda to the block administration as well as the gram panchayat and local Congress MLA Hemanta Talukdar, but nothing was done. The MLA had assured that he would ensure that the bridge is converted into an RCC one during his tenure," rued Prab Rabha, a local.

The dilapidated condition of the bridge had made the task of taking sick people to the health centre a Herculean task. During monsoons, school students have to cross the river on rafts made of ba tree in hazardous conditions.

"Forget about converting the bridge to an RCC once, the government has even failed to repair the existing wooden structure. During the last four months, the condition has worsened after an approach to the bridge caved in," said another villager.

Anger against the government is palpable among the villagers.

"Only when there are incidents along the inter-state border areas, the government talks about border development. The Chief Minister should come here and see how we live. Not only roads and bridges, the people are facing immense hardships due to absence of proper health-care facilities, drinking water etc," said Rabha.

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