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Village Has Broken Roads But Signage Says Road-Building Project Completed!

Imagine living in a village with terrible roads. Now imagine someone rubbing salt to the residents' wounds by setting up a series of boards saying the road building project has been completed. This is what has happened in the Maharani Village of Tripura where the villagers had been demanding for better roads for years.

There is a row of sign boards saying the Gamabari to Dukati road has been repaired

The road under question is the Gamabari to Dukati road under Gomati district. It was sanctioned in 2017 under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. Instead of the project being taken up and residents' lives being made easier, villagers only received a set of sign boards saying the project was completed in 2018 itself.

The actual condition of the road belies the claims

Roads are one of the most important infrastructures for the overall development of a region. With the ‘Look East’ policy of the Government, roads and connectivity in the Northeast India became an important focal point. However, developmental promises like construction of roads are only fulfilled on papers. While the documents claim full construction of roads, the work on ground is practically negligible. Such practices provide false information to the public which is essentially a breach of their rights.

As a resident of Maharani village, such blatant ignorance or intentional deception is very insulting. As a citizen, we have right to proper and correct information. The claim of road completion is a breach of our right. Hence, one has to question, ‘who’/ ‘what’ is causing this. The loopholes in the system, misinformation, unawareness and exploitation are some factors responsible for this breach.

The documented data indicates that the construction work for the pitched road commenced 03-03-2017, and was completed by 02-2018. The road is claimed to be 9.325 kilometers long. The total investment was Rs. 529.40 lakhs and an additional amount of Rs. 36.18 lakhs was invested for its maintenance, for a period of 5 years. However, the constructed road does not seem to be in tandem with the documented details. The road remains mostly unconstructed, with just a few brick chips laid down. It is still a 'kuchha’ road, easily washed away during a rainfall. Transportation is almost impossible, creating enormous hurdles, especially for pregnant women or sick persons.

During winters, brick factory trucks carrying sand and soil ply on the road making the whole area very dusty. Unfortunately, there is no systematic questioning of the contradiction between the documented details of the road and the unconstructed road. While a few have tried to raise their voices, the struggle was sparse and ununited.

The situation remains unchanged, even after 4 years. It occurred to me that the lack of awareness among the local population could be a reason for this pertinent situation, or maybe the contractor knew that no one would dare to question him.

During rainy season the road turns into a giant mud pit

Nonetheless, misinformation is clearly evident in this case. In my view, while the situation is reflective of unawareness among people, it is also a result of the inefficient third party involved in construction i.e the contractors. It is a hindrance to the developmental work promised by the Prime Minister. Therefore, I think that it is the need of the hour to raise out voices against such blatant misinformation and deception. It is important to know and protect our rights, in order to develop collectively.

This article has been created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.


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