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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

No bridge in 70 years, Uttar Pradesh’s Birahimpur villagers say they’re losing hope now

Villagers say the demand for a bridge on river Betwa is pending since British era, but no government paid heed to it.

lucknow Updated: Nov 12, 2017 23:12 IST
Oliver Fredrick
Oliver Fredrick
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Locals struggle to cross the dry river bed with their motorcycles in Uttar Pradesh’s Birahimpur village.
Locals struggle to cross the dry river bed with their motorcycles in Uttar Pradesh’s Birahimpur village.(HT Photo)

Until that fateful night in July 2014, the over 70-year-old issue of a connecting bridge in Birahimpur village was just one of the many problems Deshraj Kashyap, 32, and his fellow villagers grappled with.

But things changed and the bridge became the main issue for the residents of the village, which falls in the mango belt of Malihabad, 40km from Lucknow.

That night, Deshraj’s youngest brother, Gopal, 26, attempted suicide by consuming pesticide. Deshraj and his two other brothers were clueless about how they could save their sibling as the temporary wooden bridge, which connects the village with the town and is also the nearest way to reach the hospital, was in a shambles, unfit for bearing the load of an ambulance or even a two-wheeler.

The alternative was a ‘pucca’ road, around 21km from the village. Since a delay could prove fatal for Gopal, they called an ambulance at one end of the wooden bridge and with the help of a charpoy, carried him across the bridge to the vehicle.

Gopal’s life was saved but the situation is worse for Birahimpur inhabitants now as the bridge has broken. “Since my brother was rushed in time to hospital, he could be saved. But now villagers don’t have any option as the bridge is broken,” said Deshraj.

Birahimpur gram sabha has two villages — Rampur Basti and Birahimpur — and a population of around 7,000. Villagers say the demand for a bridge on river Betwa, which separates the village from the town, is pending since the British era, but no government has paid heed to it.

Maiku, a villager in his late 60s, said he grew up hearing about the issue. “We have lost faith in the government. Many came and went but the problem is intact. I don’t know if I will be able to see the bridge in my life,” he said.

In the 2017 assembly polls, the villagers decided not to vote, saying ‘Pul nahi, toh vote nahi’ (no bridge, no vote). They are now planning to raise the demand before 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

First Published: Nov 12, 2017 23:12 IST

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