Contrary to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tall claim on 30th April 2018 that his government has fulfilled the commitment to electrify every single village in the country, claiming Manipur’s Leishang village in Kangpokpi district, became the last village to be electrified on 28th April 2018, leave alone villages in other states, several villages in Manipur have belittled the Indian PM’s claim saying villages in Manipur still lack electricity supply.
One such village is S. Gelbung village, only 60 kms from the capital city, Imphal. Perched on top of the mountain ranges in Singhat sub-division of Churachandpur district, the picturesque village is home to the Thadou tribe, belonging to the Kuki-Chin-Mizo group of people. Even though the village is not very far from the district headquarter, being only 26 kms away, the drive from Imphal to the Gelbung clocked over five hours, due to the mountainous terrain. The freshly craved out, uphill, approach road to the village itself, a mere 12 kms, took more than an hour to climb on 4x4 wheels.
For the villagers of Gelbung, the arrival of our 4x4 was a sign of relief as it meant their dream road project has finally been realized and signalled a wind of change for the once incommunicable village. Incidentally ours was the first vehicle to have reached their village.
Village secretary, Jangpao Khongsai informed us that the approach road to the village was a project implemented without any governmental involvement. Tired of waiting for the administration to action, villagers of Gelbung together with the neighbouring villagers of T. Canan jointly resolved to construct an approach road by themselves and decided that each household must contribute Rs 20,000/- towards it. Subsequently, an earthmover was hired by the villagers and after working for two months; their dream road has become visible even if it is not exactly motorable in the true sense of the word. The secretary informed that altogether a little over Rs 6 lakhs was the total expenditure.
“Despite repeated request to our elected representatives, they have repeatedly failed us. Our MLA Mr.GS Haopu has not visited our village even once. Same is the attitude of our autonomous district council member. We realized that if we don’t act collectively and build the approach road, our lives would never improve. Therefore we had a meeting and decided that each household of S. Gelbung and T. Canan will contribute for the approach road and the rest will be contributed by the village chiefs,” said Jangpao Khongsai. While the freshly craved out road would become un-motorable during the monsoon unless the loss soiled is concretized with at least stone clips Khongsai is optimistic. “Before we used to walk on foot for 3 hours to reach the inter-village road from the village. Now we can come up and go down the village on a Kenbo (a Chinese made 135 cc geared moped).” Added the village secretary.
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