Bridging the gap with bare hands

Bridging the gap with bare hands

A bridge by the people, of the people and for the people

The people of these villages in Uttar Pradesh’s backward Maharajganj district dreaded rain unlike many others, who eagerly awaited it. The reason? It flooded an otherwise tiny river cutting off the villages from the rest of the country for months together as there was no bridge over it.

The tiny river turned into a big one during the monsoons and thousands of people in these villages were marooned. And it has been like that for as long as the villagers could remember.

Repeated pleas of the villagers fell flat on the officials while the local MPs and MLAs too showed concern only during the polls. The officials pleaded their helplessness saying that the area housed a wildlife sanctuary and no permanent construction could come up there.

Fed up with the official apathy, the people of Berikuri, Bramhapur and Beloha decided to ‘do something’ without waiting for any help from the district administration. The villagers decided to construct an wooden bridge across ‘Mahav’ river.

“When we approached the Forest department for permission to construct a wooden bridge across the river, their officials readily agreed and granted the approval,” said Village Pradhan Ram Vilas Yadav.

It was decided that we would approach the common people for donations to pay the wages of the labourers, he said. “We brought wood from the forest and began the work just before the onset of monsoon in April this year,” Yadav said. “Help poured in from all quarters,” he added.

“The entire work was completed within a week....we were able to construct a wooden bridge on the 70-ft wide river in record time,” he said, adding that it was made possible only with the active support of the villagers.

There were celebrations all around when the bridge was thrown open to the people. The wooden bridge is strong enough to withstand the weight of motor bikes also, he said.
“And when the rain came this season, we were not worried at all as we knew that the bridge was there to enable us to maintain contact with the outside world,” an elated
Yadav said.