Almora: In a remarkable feat reminiscent of Bihar's Dashrath Manjhi, Prakash Goswami of Uttarakhand has single-handedly carved out a 500-meter road over a period of nine months. Goswami, a resident of Gwar village in Bageshwar's Garud area, used basic tools like chisel and hammer to cut through the hillside and connect his village to the main road.
Despite facing taunts from the villagers and receiving no assistance from the authorities, Goswami continued to work from 5 am to 9 am every day since June last year to build the road.
The completion of the road, which is almost ready and can now accommodate four-wheelers, will benefit around 300 people. The lack of proper road connectivity is a common issue in many remote areas of Uttarakhand, with numerous villages still cut off from the main roads. This often makes it difficult for people to access medical facilities or reach their homes during emergencies.
The plight of those living in such areas is evident in the case of Bageshwar's Kanda area, where locals have been demanding a road for the past 20 years. A group of around ten women from the area recently took it upon themselves to construct a road. Pushpa Devi, one of the women, stated that the lack of a proper road made it difficult for pregnant women and elderly people to access medical facilities.
The sorry state of affairs in Uttarakhand is not limited to the aforementioned villages alone. According to a report by the Migration Prevention Commission, there are at least 84 villages in the state that remain unconnected by roads. Some villagers are forced to walk up to 10 km to reach the nearest main road.
Former village head, Kishnati Bora, lamented that despite their village being named an 'Atal Adarsh village', with approximately 200 residents, no work had been undertaken to befit the title. Ajay Tamta, MP from Almora, expressed ignorance of the matter but promised to look into it.
Goswami's herculean efforts to build the road should serve as an inspiration to others and draw attention to the lack of infrastructure in many remote areas of Uttarakhand. The authorities need to take note of these issues and take concrete steps to address them, lest the people of the state continue to suffer due to lack of basic facilities.