Villagers work on the road. (Snehamoy Chakraborty)
Nalhati, Jan. 8: Fifteen residents of Birbhum’s Nalhati have donated about four acres for the construction of a 2km kuchcha road connecting two villages and that would benefit 2,500 residents.
The villagers of Atgram and Kanaipur today started work under the 100 days’ rural job scheme to construct the road. District officials have assured the villagers of all help to make the road metalled in the future.
The subdivisional officer of Rampurhat, Ratneswar Roy, told The Telegraph: “It is a remarkable thing that a group of villagers donated their land for the construction of a road. We will later construct a metalled road for them.”
Atgram and Kanaipur are two adjoining villages under Nalhati-I block.
There was no road link between the two villages earlier. If a villager needed to take a bus or travel to the nearest town of Nalhati, he had to walk on a narrow divider between two paddy fields for 2km to reach Kanaipur.
“Else, a villager would have to make a detour of 5.5km. Also, villagers of Kanaipur needed the road for students to travel to the high school in Atgram,” said Sahid Ali of Atgram who gave 15 cottahs for the road.
Sahid Ali said the local Left-run Kalitha gram panchayat had been requested several times for a road, but to no avail. “We had requested the panchayat authorities several times to make a road connecting the two villages. There is a high school in Aatgram but students of Kanaipur village find it difficult to reach the school in time as they have walk on the dividers. Many children of Kanaipur prefer to study at the high school at Kalitha, 4km away. Now the students have to cover 2km of kuchcha road to reach the school,” said Manik Mondal of Kanaipur who donated 5cottahs.
The local Independent panchayat member, Jyotsna Bibi, a resident of Kanaipur, have helped this project to be considered under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.
She is also overseeing the work.
Jyotsna Bibi said: “On behalf of the panchayat, we have given villagers work under the 100 days’ scheme. But the land has been donated by residents of the two villages. It was quite impossible to build a road if the villagers didn’t donate the land,” she said.
Baishakhi Das, CPM pradhan of Kalitha gram panchayat, said: “Today we have also sent an employee from the panchayat to oversee the work. It is a novel approach by the villagers.”