TODAY -

Neglected for more than a decade, villagers built their own bridge, still risk their lives in monsoon season

Laishram Ranbir *

Neglected for more than a decade, villagers built their own bridge over Sekmai River by Luwangsanggol  villagers (remote part of Saikul Assembly Constituency)
Neglected for more than a decade, villagers built their own bridge over Sekmai River by Luwangsanggol villagers (remote part of Saikul Assembly Constituency)



Men has reach the moon and with the rapid development growth in every part of the country, states and cities, there still lies places neglected by the so called ruler of the state, the Government . It has been more than a decade, villagers of Luwangsanggol hopes for development and good governance in their villages.

"I still nurture hopes that someday our area will be developed with better roads and there will be a proper bridge and we don't have to suffer when crossing the river in monsoon. That's why I keep voting every election," mumble a villager while crossing the temporary suspension bridge over the Sekmai River.

Elections do come and go but the situation in this remote part of Saikul Assembly Constituency, which falls under Kangpokpi district, has remained unchanged, all these years, with no signs of development and not a proper bridge for transportation and travelling.

The villagers of Luwangsanggol walk for miles during rainy season risking their lives on a temporary suspension bridge made of simple iron rod, and bamboo stick to cross the Sekmai river before reaching Kanglatongbi the nearest market.

Adding to their woe is the deplorable condition of the main road, connecting Luwangsanggol and Kanglatongbi has not been repaired for the last couple of years. Established in the year 1933 before India got its Independence and just 22 Km from Imphal and hardly 1 hours to travel, Luwangsanggol village is a home to more than 600 people of over 80 houses.

"The only wish of the people in the area is better road communication - a bridge over the Sekmai River - as it will end one of their major problems. It becomes extremely difficult for the people to cross the river, which swells up during the rainy season."

The route is the lifeline and the only link for Luwangsanggol villagers.

In the year 2001/2002 the villagers constructed a suspension bridge with concrete pillars on both side of the river without any financial support from the government but the bridge is now in unusable condition.

"No government officials has laid their eyes on the village for development till date except for election campaign," said a villager.

During monsoon, the villagers use to construct a temporary suspension bamboo bridge to cross the river but risky as the water flows above danger level. In winter, the villagers face no problems crossing the river as the water level runs at the lowest level.

"During monsoon, the area mostly remains cut off from the rest of the world," added a villager. "We have to take the temporary suspension bridge but it is risky when it rains in the foothills of the state and the river swells up," said a villager.

"Had there been a proper bridge, many won't be facing any hardship in their lives, only we know how we risk our lives every time we cross the river during the rainy season. There is always the risk of the suspension bridge collapsing. It's the pregnant women and the patients who are the worst sufferers, of the Luwangsanggol Village."

With no proper health centre, the villagers had to take the sick patients to Sekmai and Motbung Primary Health Centre which is the nearest but when the patients is in serious condition they had to admit them in the major hospital in Imphal city.

While doing so, many have lost their lives before even reaching the treatment centre.

An elderly man said, "Even after 70 years of Independence, our area is underdeveloped on all fronts with no bridge or proper roads. First, we have to travel through the barren, sandy route and then cross the river using the suspension bridge during monsoon to reach Kanglatongbi, the nearest market."

"During election, candidates use to campaign to woe their votes with fake promises but now we have stopped wishing for anything from the leaders who promise big every election. But our hope for a bridge over the river Sekmai doesn't deter us from voting though we know they won't look back to put their promises into action," said a villager (whose name don't want to be mention) of Luwangsanggol village, who now lives in the city.

Almost all the villagers of Luwangsanggol village practice Christianity though some non-locals such as the Nepali resides outskirts of the village and practice Hindu religion.

Most of the people in Luwangsanggol village engage themselves mainly in quarrying works and are daily wages labourer.


* Laishram Ranbir wrote this article for Imphal Times
This article was posted on August 22, 2017.


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