It is encouraging to see what people can achieve when they join hands to make a difference in their own lives and communities. As reported in The Daily Star on January 13, around 700 inhabitants—around 500 men and 200 women—of Netrakona's Kalmakanda upazila have been working voluntarily to build a new road which, once completed, will reduce the sufferings of around 15,000 villagers. The volunteers hope that they will complete the work of the 4.5-kilometre road within a week, which is quite impressive.
Reportedly, building a road through these villages has been a long-time demand of the residents but it could not be done due to financial constraints of the union parishad. According to the local union parishad chairman, with their limited budget it is not even possible to repair the roads, and building new ones is just impossible.
It is easily understandable what happens when there is no proper road in a village. It is not only that communications with the nearby villages and towns get hampered, the villagers also cannot have their basic rights ensured. Education of children becomes very difficult as schools and colleges are usually situated miles away. It gets particularly difficult for girls to continue their education after the primary level if the schools are far away and the road communication is not good enough. And getting healthcare at upazila health complexes or nearby hospitals during emergency situations also becomes a challenge. Moreover, people's sufferings increase during monsoon, especially when they have to transport their agricultural produce or other goods to the nearby bazars.
While we commend such a community initiative to build the much-needed road in Netrakona, we also wonder why the local union parishad does not have funds to build the road. According to the union parishad chairman who inspired the villagers to build the road on their own, his appeals to the upazila parishad and local administration for building a new road through the villages have fallen on deaf ears. The authorities concerned must give an explanation regarding this. Finally, we hope the new road will bring better days for the people in the eight villages in Netrakona.