Updated: Jun 15
Translated from Kokborok by Kamal Jamatia
Yakhrai is the name of a village located within the Ampi RD block in the Gomati district of Tripura state. Tripura state is home to many sub-tribes and communities, each having its own villages. Among them, Yakhrai is considered one of the oldest villages. People belonging to different communities have been residing in this village for many years. Yakhrai village is situated below the Baramura range in the region of Tripura state. Today, we will discuss the issues faced by the people of Yakhrai village due to the absence of a proper bridge.
The people of Yakhrai village are primarily dependent on agriculture. According to Upa Sadhan Jamatia, the Secretary of the Village Development Committee, this village was established in the year 1792. For over 300 years, the residents of Yakhrai village have been residing here. Despite the formation of the Tripura state after India's independence and the implementation of various development agreements, there has been no noticeable progress in this village.
Yakhrai means "bridge" in the Kokborok language. However, in that village, there is no good bridge. There is a major river named Songang in the village. Due to the presence of a poor bridge, everything dependent on transportation - including education, market activities, and other aspects - is affected.
In this village, there are 102 families with a population of 450 people. The main problem which affects everyone in the village is the absence of a proper bridge. During the rainy season, another problem arises due to the difficulty of crossing the large river with makeshift bridges. Many villagers have lost their lives because of drowning in the river. Nil Pad Jamatia, a chairman of the village, lost his life due to drowning. Moreover, during the rainy season, students have to go to another village to attend schools and colleges. This causes students to travel long distances to reach their institutions. Sometimes, even exams have to be canceled due to transportation issues.
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Ganda Rani Jamatia said, "Many governments have come and there have been changes, but our problems have not been solved. No one has helped us - everyone in our village is poor and uneducated. If there is no government job in the family, we struggle. Even the students have to travel a long distance to reach school. In our village, only two or three families have government employees. The Songang River has become much larger than before. We have had to build temporary bridges using bamboo. There was a time when I almost drowned in the Songang River, and if my husband hadn't saved me, I wouldn't be alive today. Some members of my family have also drowned in the water."
She adds, "During the rainy season, we face more problems in taking sick people to the hospital. It becomes a challenging task because of the absence of bridges, resulting in deaths. We have to take the patients to hospitals through other villages, which takes a lot of time. Many people die before reaching the hospital. The lack of access to proper healthcare facilities causes many problems for the villagers. Livestock also drowns in the water during the rainy season."
In the state of Tripura, it's not just Yakhrai village but numerous other villages that are bearing the brunt of flimsy bamboo bridges. It is necessary to address this problem promptly.
This article is created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereorand Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.