Despite politicians’ assurances of development in the run-up to elections, many people in rural Assam continue to suffer due to a lack of basic infrastructure and amenities.
Residents of Bahadur Part 1, a village in Hailakandi district, located some 21 km from the district headquarter, have long been dealing with poor road infrastructure and connectivity. The main road leading out of the village, filled with potholes, gets completely submerged during floods. It has been especially harrowing for students, who have to traverse the difficult stretch to reach the local government school.
Despite promising to build the road, many local representatives, including the local MLA, Zakaria Hussain Laskar, who lives around 4 km away, have failed to deliver on their promises.
"Just before elections, we are assured by the MLA and representatives of the panchayat, zilla parishad, Chairman assure us that the road will be built if we vote for them," a local informed.
Instead of taking their suffering lying down, however, the impoverished locals literally took matters into their own hands.
Collecting ‘chanda’ (donations) ranging from Rs 500-10,000 from local families (each paid as per their economic condition), villagers have started work on developing a stretch of road on their own. Forty nine village families donated for the novel cause.
Post the ordeal, villagers have said that they will never allow political campaigning in the future.
"There will be a hue-and-cry if they (politicians) enter the village for a campaign. We will not allow them to enter the village. We will boycott them. They only arrive before an election to ensure a voting bloc, but they failed to deliver when it mattered," said another local, before making an appeal to the Chief Minister for help.
Meanwhile, armed with spades and axes, many of the village men - young and old - are busy in their work to lay a road to the village for hassle-free commuting. They have also hired a local JCB to speed up the process. Flashing smiles despite their toil, the villagers seem content now.
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