Villagers in Manipur mend broken bridges themselves

Villagers in Manipur mend broken bridges themselves

Every day, NTS Plowish used to cross the Chakpikarong bridge to reach his workplace in Thoubal district, the concrete bridge being the only connectivity for villagers in Chandel district like him.

The flash flood on July 31, however, broke the chief source of livelihood for 40,000 people in about 40 villages in the two districts in Manipur, cutting them off from the rest of the state. “We are cut off since July 31,” Plowish told Deccan Herald by phone. “Two concrete bridges have been broken. We lost houses, harvest and roads.”

“No one knows the extent of damage to the properties. We are donating money from our pocket to build makeshift bridges. Are we not Indians? Is not our plight being noticed?” asked a tearful Plowish.

Locals said they had to search the body of a villager drowned in the floods after calls for help to the authorities did not yield desired result.

Doing things for themselves without depending on the government seemed like a recurring theme in the continuing tragedy of flash floods in the area. The state government has come under condemnation for its slow reaction to the flood.

Since Sunday, villagers from both the districts are risking their lives to place bamboo sticks on the broken parts of the bridge above the dangerously overflowing Chakpi river to restore connectivity.

By Monday morning, they indeed succeeded in putting up the makeshift bridge, even as the river showed signs of receding.

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