Villagers in Manipur have shown a great example of perseverance and sends out a strong message to the policy makers by repairing the 19 kms long stretch dilapidated roads by pooling in fund and manpower by themselves. Located in Senapati district of Manipur, the Maram-Purul-Phaibung road is a state highway which connects Ukhrul district. It is also an important lifeline for nearly 60 villages to connect to the main town.
As the state highway has been lying in a very deplorable condition for long enough despite numerous petitions to concerned authorities by the villagers, residents of the villages under the aegis of Purul Union and Khoide Union have started road improvement work more than ten days back within their respective areas after a directive was issued by to this effect by the Lupao Naga Union. Around 2000 men and women of Senapati district have volunteered to repair the road as the condition has become unfit for travel.
The stretch is dotted with hazardous potholes, while the black topping has decayed. Mudslide during rainy seasons has been one main cause for accidents. Many fatalities have occurred in the past while availing of medical attention has become an arduous task because of the worsening condition.
“We have submitted numerous petitions to concerned authorities. However, the road has been left to decay for the past 7 years. Finally we decided to generate fund from villagers to repair it all by ourselves. We no longer believe the State government or any authority will come to help us,” said secretary of Khoide Union, Haile Phillip. He added that it was unbelievable that an MLA from the valley, Th Shyamkumar, representing Andro Assembly constituency readily donated Rs 50,000 for the work.
“He has our blessings and his (Shyamkumar) gesture will go a long way in fostering ties between the hill and valley. We are indebted to his kindness,” Phillip added.
As a Good Samaritan, Director of NEC, Kh Siile Anthony also donated Rs 50,000 for the cause. Altogether, the road repair initiative has collected a sum of Rs 2,39,388. President of Lepao Naga Union, RT Daiho, who is the authority of 32 villages, is also involved in the repair works. He said villagers have been suffering for long due to apathy of the State government.
“We have no further trust in the administration. We have come out to do the work ourselves. I have notified villagers to volunteer for the repairing work and we have overwhelming response from the people. We will complete the work in a week’s time,” he said. Villagers complained that the designated SDC never comes to his office located at Purul. It was also pointed out that the local MLA, Alexander Pao has not once come to look into the work done by the villagers.
The villagers use the money for hiring an earthmover and a truck for lifting rocks and transport them. The food and tools are brought by the villagers and moreover, no money is paid to labourers. A woman worker Louniru, holding a spade in hand quipped, ‘God help those who help themselves. We are united in our work and we will pave the road.’
Lupao Naga Union president RT Daiho said that they have been overseeing the road repairing work.