Paddy protest over potholed road - Hazaribagh villagers sow seeds in craters

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By VISHVENDU JAIPURIAR
  • Published 6.08.11
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Hazaribagh, Aug. 5: Hundreds of villagers of Keredari and Barkagaon today sowed paddy, not in their fields but on the huge potholes dotting the 14km road connecting the two blocks.

Tired of pleading with the authorities to mend the dilapidated stretch without any result, the villagers, led by JVM leader Baleshwar Kumar, today adopted an innovative form of protest to make their voices heard.

Demanding immediate repairs, they gathered on the road around 11am and sowed paddy on the huge craters, which have turned into mud puddles.

Some even went a step further and indulged in a game of carom, causing traffic congestion on both sides of the road.

The “sadak satyagraha” was lifted at 7.30pm after SDO Binay Kumar Rai and PWD executive engineer Rajeev Lochan told the agitators that the tender for the road repair would be issued on August 18 and work would start in the last week of the month.

The road drew attention when Hazaribagh MP Yashwant Sinha raised the issue in Ranchi recently. The veteran BJP leader had claimed that despite his best efforts, the Barkagaon-Keredari road reconstruction project had failed to get the green signal from the administration due to the lackadaisical attitude of the officials.

Congress Barkagaon MLA Yogendra Sao had also tried to get the project cleared, but in vain. Sources said the Rs 10-crore repair project was lying pending with the finance department.

The angry local residents claimed that not less than 500 to 600 vehicles ply on the stretch — which also connects Chatra — everyday. “We waste more than two hours every day to cross the 14km potholed road,” said JVM’s Kumar.

He added that they had been demanding repairs for the past year and had even served an ultimatum to the administration, but inaction forced them to hit the protest path.

“We consulted the villagers and decided to launch this agitation under the name, sadak satyagraha,” Kumar said.

Garikala mukhiya Laxmikant Kumari said politicians and officials had hoodwinked them. “Sao had promised to provide Rs 15 lakh from his fund for repair work whereas NTPC had also announced financial aid to the tune of Rs 43 lakh, but all proved to be mere lip service,” she added.