You can't cross our bridge, Bihar villagers tell politicians (Election Special)
Residents of a village in Bihar's Darbhanga parliamentary constituency have barred elected representatives from using a bamboo bridge they have built through their own donations.
Villagers of Kamalpur-Brahmotar Ghat, a village under the Pirri panchayat of Bahadurpur block in Darbhanga, have announced boycott of Lok Sabha polls for failure of people's representatives to fulfill their old demand for a concrete bridge over the Kamla river.
"We have built a bamboo bridge, locally known as Chachri pul, over Kamla river last November by collecting donation of Rs.3 lakh from among the villagers and banned entry of people's representative to express protest for their failures to fulfill a promise," said Ashish Jha, a villager.
Darbhanga votes April 30.
Jha said the bridge was thrown open for the public but with no entry for the local MP, legislators.
"In last nearly five months, not a single people's representative has dared to cross the bridge fearing angry villagers," Jha said.
Before they built the bamboo bridge, villagers used to travel across the river through a smaller bamboo bridge which used to get washed away during monsoon season due to flooding of river.
Another villager, Jogi Yadav, said that residents of the village were tired of hearing false promises and assurances made by the people's representatives for decades.
"After people's representatives failed, villagers have proved that they can build a makeshift bridge without government help."
The bridge, which is 40 metres long and three metres wide, has provided connectivity to dozens of nearby villages also.
Nearly three decades ago, a legislator had laid the foundation stone for the construction of a bridge but the project has not materialized till date.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has repeatedly claimed that his government has built over 12,000 bridges in the state in the last eight and a half years to improve road connectivity.
He never forgets to remind people during the election campaign that as against 375 bridges constructed in 30 years between 1975 and 2005, his government has built a record number of bridges in the state.
His government has built bridges on major rivers like the Ganga, the Gandak and the Koshi and many more such projects are in the pipeline.
(Imran Khan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Posted on 19-04-2014)