Once upon a time, when there was no road in Kungrah Valley, the women of the region had to walk for miles, often on steep, rocky paths. But no more. After two years of hard labour, locals in the valley pooled together Rs 7 lakh, which was used to build an eight km long road.
And to inaugurate it, the villagers chose Sharda Devi, 85, who launched it on Tuesday, which is being celebrated the world over as International Women’s Day. The women of the area danced and cried with joy as Sharda Devi inaugurated the road amongst the chanting of shlokas.
Archana Devi, the pradhan of Sakni Bari village, told HT that the road is very important for the women. “Many expecting mothers had to negotiate 5-8 km of steep climb to reach the government hospital at Ghandiyal. It was also a tedious task for the old to fetch their monthly pension from the banks for the fear of this hard climb,” she said.
Uma Devi, a resident said the road was sanctioned by the government in 2011 but no further activities took place. “Therefore in 2014, the villagers decided to work on their own,” she said.
Dinesh Rawat, a social worker who was among the driving forces behind the push to construct the road, told HT that it will directly benefit five thousand villagers of Naithana, Sakni Bari, Sakni Choti, Manjhkot, Deval, Guran Sain, Bundgaon, Naugaon, Behargaon, Sainar, Gund and Pulyasu and will indirectly affect around nine thousand more people who live in adjacent villages.
“The road is dedicated to the women because not only did they provide the money but voluntarily worked hard in the making of the road,” Rawat said.