Noticing their repeated demands to officials and elected representatives for a village road is in vain, the people of Inderha hamlet in Madhya Pradesh’s Satna paved a road themselves.
Satna, Madhya Pradesh
It is 2020, but there are still many remote, inhabited areas in the country that are not connected to the closest town by decent roads. Inderha tola (hamlet) that falls under Rampur Chaurasi gram panchayat in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh is one such place.
“The village remains as backward as it was before the Independence; there has been no development in public facilities here,” Chotelal Singh, a villager who has been struggling for many years for the road, told Gaon Connection. “We met up with every public representative to demand a road. The Sarpanch (The head of the village) is a resident of this village but he did not bother either,” Singh lamented.
The villagers complained that in the absence of a good road, they used to trip and fall over, injuring themselves. They also said no school vans could come into the village because of the lack of a road. “We used to trip and fall. In absence of proper commute, our children are deprived of proper education,” Singh added.
The villagers – children and adults alike – ran out of patience. They picked up spades and shovels and paved a three-four-kilometre-long dirt road for themselves. It has eased the commute to and from the village. “We had to take this step in grave distress,” Singh told Gaon Connection.
Other villagers complained that no one, irrespective of the party or leader – BJP or Congress, Shivraj Singh Chouhan or Kamal Nath – addressed their grievances.
“The panchayat cannot build the road because it is far too long,” Anil Dwivedi, secretary- gram panchayat clarified about the road of Inderha. “It can only be done by the Rural Engineering Department and the Central Public Works Department since it is large-scale work. The length is three-four kilometres, so the panchayat cannot even order a murmikaran,” he said.
Dwivedi said despite the construction of a road here was proposed under Pradhan Mantri Gran Sadak Yojana, the scattered settlement of people in the large Rampur Chaurasi panchayat makes it difficult. “The villagers, upset with all of this, pooled in money and paved the road. It is not pucca, but can be used,” he said.
It is not that the Rampur Chaurasi gram panchayat did nothing about roads. In the past four years, the panchayat constructed more than two dozen concrete roads. As per the Panchayat Darpan portal data, Rampur Chaurasi panchayat has worked extensively to provide its inhabitants a network of cement concrete (CC) roads.
Between 2015 and 2018, 25 CC roads were constructed at the total cost of Rs 61,51,587. They were constructed under four different heads, out of which, 10 were made under Punch Parmeshwar, 13 under the 14th Finance commission and one each under the State Finance Commission (district level) and Secondary Minerals with respective funding of Rs 33, 44,087, Rs 21,77, 500, Rs 40,000 and Rs 5,90,000.
It is irrelevant to the plight of the villagers in Inderha hamlet, but 858 roads were constructed in Satna district under Mahatma Gandhi National Rurual Employment Guarantee Scheme in the 2019-20 financial year. Other than this, 715 are under construction and 424 more road projects have been approved. Particularly in Sohawal district, 65 roads were made, 100 roads are under construction or are pending, and 44 new roads have been sanctioned.
As per the data available on the official website of the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana in Satna district, 452 roads have been constructed since 2000 in Satna district. A network of 1619.750 kilometres has been laid at the total construction cost Rs 43,221.47 lakh along with the provision of Rs 1,657.92 lakh towards the road maintenance. In the financial year 2019-20, 112 roads were constructed spanning over 1,473.367 kilometres.