The trend of do-it-yourself (DIY) road repairs appears to be growing in Meghalaya as ordinary citizens take it upon themselves to do what the government is unable or unwilling to do when it comes to fixing poorly maintained roads in the state.
After residents in West Khasi Hills repaired a road themselves, as reported in Highland Post yesterday, various NGOs in the Bajengdoba area in North Garo Hills along with local residents today got down to repair a road between the village of Gokolgre and Achotchonggre, which, due to years of neglect, had become unnavigable.
Setting an example to all, including the administration and the state government, more than 2,300 villagers from 34 villages got down to doing what should have been the prerogative of those in administration-easing their suffering by repairing the dysfunctional road.
The road in question had been sanctioned more than five years ago with a contractor from Williamnagar, Romilla Sangma, being awarded the contract. However Sangma, after completing around 1 kilometre of the road, abandoned the work. Ever since it has been neglected and left without any further development.
“We have approached various departments, including the district administration, Public Works Department (PWD) and the Community and Rural Development Block for possible ways to make the road better but received no word on when it will be done, so we decided to do the work by ourselves,” said the local development committee President, Tengsrang D Sangma.
The villagers began their work early in the morning and even repaired a wooden bridge on the same road. The bridge has been in a state of disrepair.
The repairs were done today despite the chill in the air due to inclement weather with rains being a permanent feature through the day.
“We are extremely happy that everyone has come together to do their bit in repairing the road with even the [transporters] association helped by providing their vehicles to pick up and drop people. We are extremely thankful to all that helped in ensuring we were able to complete the road,” said Garo Students Union unit President, Samar Marak.
The villagers repaired a total of over 7km of road in a single day, which is only a little less than the total of 7.5km.
The initiative to repair the road comes even as other places struggle with roads that have been left to disintegrate in many parts of Garo Hills. It comes even as authorities appointed only for this purpose look the other way when they are the ones that need to raise their hand and take responsibility.