In 2015, when noted actor Bollywood Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui played the lead role in the movie ‘Manjhi’, the nation came to know about how the system failed to reach to the poor and deprived. Dashrath Manjhi, a man from Bihar worked tirelessly for 22 years and cut down a hill so that a road could be constructed for transport/ambulance facilities. The absence of basic medicinal facilities had costed him the life of his wife. Manjhi suffered a lot due to the lack of food, water and financial support as most of his neighbours, even his own family members left the village for greener pastures.
A similar story surfaced recently from the coastal state of Odisha, A man named Jalandhar Nayak had been cutting down mountains single-handedly in order to pave the way to build a 15-kilometre road. When asked, Jalandhar Nayak said he did this, so that the children of his village could reach their school easily rather than travelling through high and dangerous hills.
Jalandhar Nayak is 45 years old. He and his family are the only residents of the village. All other residents have left the village due to lack of basic amenities. Sibashakti Biswal, the local reporter who covered the story on Nayak told BBC, “I was impressed to find that he took great care to ensure that not a single tree was cut while building the road”.
Jalandhar Nayak earns his daily living by selling vegetables in the adjoining village. He approached the Odisha State government many times but was left disappointed every time because of the non-action of the state machinery and the overall lethargy prevalent in the government. When the news about Jalandhar Nayak broke in the media, the government was shook out of its apathy. They immediately provided water and electricity to his village. Now, when the inefficiency of the state government and their overall failure in providing even the most basic amenities was highlighted in media, the district administration decided to honour and support Jalandhar Nayak by providing him financial support. The District Collector said, “Jalandhar Nayak’s effort and determination to cut mountains to build a road left me spellbound… He will be paid under MGNREGS scheme for all the days he has worked”. She added that the administration is planning to felicitate Nayak for his hard work during the Kandhamal Utsav.
A modest Jalandhar Nayak thanked the collector for recognising his efforts and gleefully exclaimed that the collector has assured him to complete the construction of the road.
But this is a shocking case of lack of basic facilities in our villages, the implementation of policies on the ground level by state governments certainly comes under a big scanner after this. In 2015, according to a joint-survey conducted by the US-India Policy Institute and the New Delhi based Centre for Research and Debates in Development Policy and released by the Former Vice President Hamid Ansari mentioned Kandhamal (The district in which Jalandhar Nayak resides) as one of the 50 most backward districts of the country. 3 years hence, there has been no change at the ground level. The Odisha Government CM Naveen Patnaik must explain why the citizens of his state are being made to live in such ignominy and poverty. Even the Center must answer why basic amenities such as electricity and water failed to reach remote villages despite so many “Antyoday” schemes like UDAY, Saubhagya scheme etc.
But one must thank the Hero Jalandhar Nayak who didn’t wait for things to get better, he went ahead and made things better. Odisha will always remember the hero who cut down mountains and shook the government out of their deep slumbers!
~ Vande Mataram!
Get real time updates about our posts directly on your device