8 years after govt. laid foundation, villagers still build bridge on their own
Dimapur, Feb. 21 (EMN): Community-based funding has come to the rescue of villagers in Longleng district to build a temporary timber bridge, which will serve as a lifeline to the villagers of Pongching and Mongtikang and neighbouring villages.
‘Temporary Bridge Construction Joint Committee’ was initially formed towards providing connectivity to the villagers in Longleng district with a budget of INR 15 lakh.
Speaking to Eastern Mirror, convenor of the committee Kongba Chungphang shared, “Almost all the villages in Longleng district use the bridge for emergency purposes since Mokokchung district is nearby including some villages of Mon district like Tobu, Aboi and Lomching. Few of us went around sharing ideas and possibilities, for which the response was mixed. So we thought to start the work hoping that people will take the initiative seriously and positively once we start the work. I took a loan of INR 2 lakh for the work. Once the work started people started to believe in our ideas and how serious we were for the construction of the bridge. Since then individuals began to pour in with financial assistance and with the donation received from well wishers we have INR 9 lakh so far.”
The foundation stone for “construction of 40.00 M RCC bridge over Dikhu River on Longleng- Chuchuyimlang-Mokokchung road” was laid by G Kaito Aye, the then Minister for PWD (R&B) on Dec. 8, 2012, but since then no work has been done, he stated.
He said that for almost eight years after the foundation stone was laid by the Nagaland government, the villagers and village council of Pongching and Mongtikang would come together to build a temporary bridge from the ‘little donation’ they received in November every year.
“Neighbouring villages, Chuchuyimlang and Salulamang, would help in constructing the temporary bridge. As the water level increases, the bridge would be washed away during the monsoon season. It was a monotonous routine and every year, we would spend around INR 2 lakh for the temporary bridge,” he said.
Chungphang recounted that it was during the pandemic that the villagers realised the need for a sturdy bridge which would brave the force of the river during the monsoon.
“The locals started the construction of the bridge on Dec. 4, 2020. It has been constructed at a length of 150 metres which may be the longest local bridge built in Nagaland by community funding,” claimed the convenor.
He said that the structure of the timber bridge is made of gabion cage metal rod and H beam for horizontal structure.
“However we need more of engineering resources,” he pointed out.
“We are not looking for development right away but connectivity at this hour, especially for medical emergencies,” he said. The convenor said they have ‘no clue’ what went wrong in the last eight years after the foundation stone was laid by the government. However he opined that “if we rely on the past record there will be no progress and the citizens will be the one at the receiving end’.
He said that their next endeavour would be to request the government for a permanent bridge, which will bridge the gap for the villagers especially those seeking medical emergencies.
The temporary timber bridge is slated to be inaugurated on February 23.