Imphal Sept 23-2020: Back in the late 1980s, locals of Phalee and Teinem villages in western Ukhrul, banded together and volunteered to dig a road for themselves using only traditional hoes, spades and pickaxes which would connect many villages of the region to the district headquarters.
Spanning around 19 km, the improvised roadway that passed through Makuikong river, got its name from the river. Some vehicles, especially Mahindra Jeep which was the most popular mode of transport back then, started to operate on the road and it soon became a life-line for majority of villages in the region.
Today, more than 30 years down the line, the roadway has become timeworn and its rugged surface, far from remaining the same, is deteriorating to a state of purgatory, even as the villagers’ dependence on the roadway is growing more than ever.
The villagers said that they have repeatedly approached the authorities concerned to look into their plight but each time, their plea fell on deaf ears. And they remained baffled and frustrated as to why the government has overlooked their genuine adversities.
One thing is clear; the bombed-out village road stands testimony to the lackadaisical attitude and apathy of successive governments of the state for the last many years.
“For the last many years, the villagers have been maintaining this road. We have been repairing it by mobilising funds from different sources since the government has failed to construct the road,” chairmen of Phalee and Teinem villages, A Sochipem and Yangsing Raleng told media persons during a spot inspection of the road on Tuesday.
They said that inhabitants of many villages in the region who rely on the road to reach Ukhrul town, are facing untold hardships due to the deplorable conditions of the roadway. “But the worst is taking sick people to the hospitals or transporting essential commodities in and out of the village,” they lamented.
According to the village leaders, the villagers have been doing maximum repairs of the wretched road by pooling limited resources after every monsoon for the last many years. “But once the next monsoon arrives, the road gets damaged and is rendered unmotorable. And this has become something of a torturous cycle for poor villagers,” they said.“So, it is our earnest appeal to the authorities concerned is to look into the serious problems being faced by the poor inhabitants of the western region.
We seek due intervention and immediate necessary actions from the government to construct a standard, all-season roadway to spare the public hardships at the earliest,” they said.
Sochipem and Yangsing further maintained that it was a matter of extreme disgrace on the part of the state government to deprive the region of a proper road connectivity via Makuikong route which connects Lungchong Meiphai sub-division (LM block) with the district headquarters with a distance of 19 km only.
According to them, it took only 1 hour or less to get to Ukhrul town through Makuikong road which is only 19 km but due to unmotorable condition of the road, the villagers are currently using a much longer 2:30-hour route via Tolloi village to get to the district headquarters.
Earlier, in the day, village authorities of Phalee and Teinem convened a press conference at UDWJA in Ukhrul town and highlighted the villagers’ plight owing to deplorable conditions of the roadway.
Several other village authority members from the two villages also attended the press conference.PeoplesChronicle