Lakhimpur, Assam: As we perspire in the sweltering Delhi weather, rain is wished for fervently. However, for every part of the country rain is not always part of the prayer. The villages, Borgoya and Paschim kharkati in Lakhimpur district Assam bears a testimony to that. Both the villages are situated in the riverine areas of the river Ranganadi and every year during monsoon, flood waters inundated the villages. The situation was no different in August 2014, when after days of rain; the whole village was submerged under water.
The only road linking the Paschim Kharkati and Borgoya village was washed away which created a serious communication problem. The villagers had to cross a muddy paddy field to reach either side. Situation became especially difficult for students as they had to cross the muddy field with their shoes in their hand and many of them would lose their balance and injure themselves. Similarly, other villagers would also meet with accidents.
The owner of the field also restricted the pedestrians by placing thorny branches and spikes on the walking trail to protect their paddy. The continuous accidents occurring on the road made a deep impression and the school authorities of Ranganadi approached the Government departments and officials to repair the road but to no avail. They had to live with the problem since 2014. Finally, the school authorities met the representatives of the Village Development Committees formed in the villages as part of disaster risk reduction initiative of IGSSS.
Community consultation was carried out with general public of Borgoya and Paschim Kharkati Village to repair the Borgoya – Paschim Kharkati road. A team of IGSSS staff verified and monitored the feasibility of the work. The construction of the road started on 23rd May, 2016 and the construction of the Bamboo Bridge started on 17th May, 2016 under the project Recovery and Risk Reduction of flood affected community in Lakhimpur district of Assam India supported by HDFC. The construction of the road was completed by 31st May, 2016 and the bridge was completed on 2nd June, 2016. For the construction of the bridge, 48 no. of Bamboos were donated by the community and school students.
Tapan Saikia a student of class 10 shared, “Now we come to school wearing shoes and long trousers” and other students too nodded in enthusiasm. Girls too expressed their feelings and said that the bridge helped them to overcome the embarrassment of pulling up their pyjamas while walking through the paddy field. Several of village women also echoed similar views, “We had to come through the paddy field pulling up the Mekhela and after the bridge was constructed we no longer have to face such situation. We thank IGSSS for their help and support.”
Written by: Mausumi Dutta, Coordinator – North East