Village road in dire straits at Rangachang-4, authorities unmoved

Port Blair
20 May 2018

While the Union Government has set an ambitious target to connect villages across the country with motorable roads, a village in remote South Andaman stands testimony to the inertia of the local government towards providing the basic facility in rural pockets here. Stone chips jut out of the road at Rangachang-4 making it completely unmotorable, while the authorities continue to exhibit failure towards ensuring renovation of the stretch for the past more than 15 years.
In December last year, angry villagers assembled and gheraoed their Ward member, Samity member and Zilla Parishad Adhyaksha demanding renovation of the road which passes by Hotel park at Ward no.1, Rangachang, 4, Beodnabad Panchayat. Gram Sabha after Gram sabha, election after election, visits by previous by the then Deputy Commissioner on a signature campaign in December 2010, visits by the Human Right organisation, television channels, print news and thousands of pleas by hassled villagers has fallen on deaf ears for the past more than 15 years with one repetitive reply, “No Funds.” “The road in question is not only unmotorable, but makes walking over it an ordeal for pedestrians. Children, women, senior citizens all suffered injuries while commuting on the tattered stretch. A senior citizen, Mr. Ramachandran fell unconscious while walking on the stretch last year and sustained serious injuries. The incident, however, is not the first and will not be the last if the authorities continue to ignore the grievances of villagers here,” said some villagers of Rangachang-4.
“Public transport vehicles like autos, taxis etc deny ferrying commuters on the broken stretch for fear of breakdowns. Private vehicle owners, who reside in villages along the stretch, suffer frequent tyre rips and punctures and burn holes in their pockets for costly repairs. As a result of the apathy, movement of agricultural products sick people and pregnant women, old and infirm has become a challenge for villagers here. The condition deteriorates during rains giving a harrowing time to villagers. A signature campaign was carried out by villagers eight years ago during which the issue was raised with the Deputy Commissioner, APWD, Zilla Parishad etc. The then Deputy Commissioner promised to look into the matter. However, villagers still are force to bear the brunt of bad road. Every elections villagers are given promises to relay the road stretch, but the issue is abandoned after polls. Villagers have raised the concern in almost all Gram Sabha meetings for the past 15 years, but to no avail. In April this year, a fresh appeal was submitted to the incumbent Deputy Commissioner while he was here to promote the UJWALA scheme at Beodnabad Panchayat. Massive unrest is brewing among villagers and the administration should redress the concerns at the earliest,” said some others. (EOIC)