Bihar villagers construct wooden bridge instead of waiting for Govt. to help

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Jamshedpur (Bihar), Jan.26 (ANI): Setting an example of self-help, villagers in Bihar's Saraikela-Kharsawan district have constructed a wooden bridge on river Kharkhai.

The wooden bridge has benefited over 20 villages surrounding the river by making them accessible to each other.

These villagers had been waiting for a long time for a concrete bridge to be constructed as a permanent solution to their problems.

In 2008, the State government constructed a bridge on the river in 2008. But the floods that ravaged Bihar that year also destroyed the bridge which isolated the villagers from one another.

The bridge used to help the people to commute to the industrial area of Gamharia in the district and also to the hospitals and schools surrounding this commercial habitat. But after the bridge collapsed, the villagers had to travel long distances to work in the factories and earn a living.

"In the absence of the bridge, we people faced a lot of difficulties. The patients could not reach the hospitals on time and a lot of them died in front of our eyes. Students could not attend school, thus affecting their education greatly. The laborers had to travel 50-60 km around the river to reach their workplace. This greatly affected the villagers as they were unable to feed their families properly," said Tapan Gorai, a member of the Gajia Bridge Reconstruction Committee.

In the absence of government support, the villagers got together and formulated Gajia Bridge Reconstruction Committee. The committee collected about Rs. 40,000 from the people and purchased the construction material.

With the help of 200 workers a 500 meter 6 feet wide wooden bridge was constructed in 17 days. The committee charges a minimal toll tax of Rs. 1 for bicycle and Rs. 5 for other two-wheelers.

Everyday the bridges service starts off with a Puja.

But the villagers are hoping that a cemented bridge will come up soon as this is a temporary solution to their commuting problems.

"When the bridge will come up, we can go to school and tuition everyday. We will not have to miss our classes. This has affected our studies immensely and we want to study daily to get good results," said Karishma Mehta, a student.

About 3,000 commuters use the bridge a day. By Girija Shankar Ojha (ANI)

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