In the footsteps of the ‘Mountain Man’ of Bihar Dashrath Manjhi, a labourer from Beed district in Maharashtra has taken on the task of repairing a pothole-riddled stretch, after his wife sustained head injury owing to one such pothole on the road. Maruti Sonawane, resident of Dhanegaon village in Kej tehsil, repaired the road, using his own labour and financial resources, without waiting for the government machinery to intervene.
His wife Vimal sustained head injuries after the public transport vehicle which she was travelling in hit a pothole on the road, earlier this month. Any other person would have cursed his bad luck and waited for government machinery to repair the road. However, Maruti did not wait for anyone and went ahead with repairing the potholes himself.
The accident took place on the Dhanegaon ‘fata’ (diversion) to Dhanegaon village stretch, which is over two km long. Maruti went about repairing the road, toiling day and night to ensure accident-free travel for other travellers. Martuti said Vimal told him that he mortage her ‘mangalsutra’ (worn by women after marriage) and use the money for the repair.
“Tomorrow, if the government asks me to repair another road, I will sell my buffalo, which should fetch me around Rs 5,000 and use the proceeds for the road work,” he said. Dashrath Manjhi of Bihar’s Gaya district, also known as Mountain Man, had cut a hillock over 25 years to make a path through it after his wife slipping off it and died.
Manjhi’s story was the subject of popular Bollywood film released last year. In Maruti’s home state, 84-year-old Rajaram Bhapkar, a former teacher at Gundegaon village in Ahmednagar district, cut through seven hills over that past five decades to make a 40-km roads.