After elected representatives and officials turned a blind eye on their repeated petitions, the residents of Palshi Village in Umarkhed tehsil of Yavatmal district crowd-sourced money and built a much-needed bridge across Painganga river themselves.
The villagers were facing multiple problems without the bridge, particularly during the monsoon season. The 70-feet long Palshi-Manula Bridge is 16 feet wide and was constructed in just nine days, reported The Times of India.
It is proving to be a boon for villagers in Palshi, Pophali, Kupti, and Mulava villages in Umarkhed tehsil, and Manula, Mathala and Sirad in Nande district of Marathwada.
Palshi village is 20 kilometres from tehsil headquarters Umarkhed and 150 kilometres from Yavatmal. It has a population of a little over 2,000.
The villagers had earlier requested the local MLAs, members of Parliament, Maharashtra ministers, collector and officials of government departments to build a bridge for them. But the demand remained neglected.
Shiv Sena's member of Yavatmal Zilla Parishad Chitangrao Kadam, who had earlier been involved in building three small bridges, proposed the villagers get the bridge built themselves. He took the lead and collected ₹16 lakh through crowdfunding. Apart from contributing money, the villagers also offered services as a part of shramdaan, and arranged construction material.
Using RCC pipes as the base structure, the villagers, with the help of masons, completed the bridge in just nine days. The work started on November 20 and was completed on November 28.
"The work costing over ₹1 crore as per the state government estimate has been completed by spending only ₹15.80 lakh," said Kadam.
He also said that the bridge would have never been built had the villagers kept waiting for the state government to act. "The government seemed unwilling to spend a single pie on any new project. We have accomplished the task and the credit goes to every villager," said Kadam.
After the bridge was completed, sitting MP from Hingoli Hemant Patil (Shiv Sena), sitting MLAs of Umarkhed Namdevrao Sasane (BJP) and Hatgaon Madhavrao Patil Jawalgaonkar (Congress), government officials and others visited the site and lauded the efforts of the people.
A Pophali-based sugar factory earlier constructed a temporary bridge-like setting to transport sugar cane of the farmers. But it was washed away in recent floods, after which, the villagers had to travel over 45 kilometres from Palshi to reach nearby Manula village in Marathwada.