A bridge to self-reliance in Dima Hasao

Villagers build connecting link to Haflong without govt help; deluge warning on social media

By Samsul Alam
  • Published 24.06.18
The bridge at Dihamlai in Assam's Dima Hasao district. Picture by Samsul Alam

Haflong: The villagers of Dihamlai area in south Assam's Dima Hasao district have rebuilt a bridge without any government help, setting a sterling example of determination and self-help.

"Why should we wait for the government when we can do things ourselves? All we need is a strong willpower and determination," said Aching Zeme, a social activist, also know as the "roadman" of Dima Hasao.

In 2016, Zeme had constructed a 7km road connecting Robi village to Inchaikang village via Raotilla in Dehamlai constituency.

This time, he joined hands with the villagers of Dihamlai in the constituency to reconstruct a hanging footbridge on the Robi Nalla.

The bridge, which connects four villages with Haflong, the district headquarters, was totally damaged by recent floods and landslide, cutting the villagers off completely.

"After the bridge was washed away, we felt helpless as we couldn't cross the overflowing river. The bridge is the lifeline of four villages as it connects us with the rest of the world. We are very happy that it has been re-constructed within a short time, restoring communication," Pehiagang Jeme, headman of Hokai Hindu village, said.

The constituency has six hanging bridges, of which five were washed away by rain and landslide.

"If the state government or the North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council do not takes steps to re-construct the bridges within the first week of July, I, with the help of villagers, will reconstruct all of them," Aching said.

The constituency has 32 villages and a population of around 5,000.

The torrential rain and landslides in the second week of June had affected many parts of the district, damaging houses, washing away roads and stalling movement of trains in the hill section.