The village of Sarpharwa in the East Champaran district of Bihar is home to Video Volunteer correspondent Tanju Devi. The village’s access to the basic necessities and amenities are reached through a journey to the nearest town Dongri. However, Tanju Devi and her community suffer as the journey on this ‘road’ is a back-breaking because of the run-down state of the road. During monsoons, locals say, the journey gets near to impossible, as the lone road gets flooded with water – holding the village under siege from food, medicine and business.
A survey in 2000 by the World Bank pointed out that over 300 million Indians lacked access to all-weather roads. A large part of 2.7 million kilometres of road in rural India were in poor condition. Keeping these figures in mind, the government initiated the ambitious Prime Minister’s National Rural Road Program and bankrolled it with over two billion dollars in an effort to develop road and transportation in Rural India. Under the program, previously unconnected villages would be evaluated and all-weather roads would be constructed. The workforce for this massive public undertaking would be sourced from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act thus ensuring an inclusive process for the all round development of rural India.
Official estimates suggest that the upkeep and maintenance of this network cost around 300 billion rupees a year. This exorbitant amount is mainly because the initial construction of roads is poorly done, and thus they are in need of regular fixing. The government claims to be improving and extending road networks all over the country. However, their focus has primarily been on urban transport networks, and rural areas are left neglected.
The villages on the road depend on this single road for employment, trade and commerce and education, apart from other necessities of everyday life.
Call to Action: We can help Tanju and her community put an end to their commuting woes by helping them get a proper road. Call or message the Program officer in West Champaran, Bihar, on +91-9006976257, asking him to get the road fixed immediately.