The man who made way for progress
- David Headley connects the dots: Hafiz Saeed, ISI, failed Mumbai attacks
- David Headley: Travelled to India 8 times, changed name for passport
- Rs 1.14 lakh crore of bad debts: The great government bank write-off
- Caste came up in 3 suicide probes at Hyderabad University
- Uttar Pradesh has been turned into 'Islamic state': Sena mouthpiece on Ghulam Ali concert
Dasrath Manjhi, the 'hillman of Bihar' who single-handedly cut through Gehlaur hill from 1960 to 1982, chip by chip with a chisel, to build a road to connect Atri block and Wazirganj, lives on three years after his death. After building pucca roads between Atri and Wazirganj and Atri and Gaya, the government is about to open the six-bed Dasrath Manjhi Hospital, which will cater to at least 50 villages.
Manjhi had carved a 110-metre-long, 7.6-metre-high, 9.1-metre-wide passage through the hill that cut down the distance between Atri and Wazirganj from 55 km to 15 km. He resolved to build the road after his wife died on the way to the hospital in Wazirganj.
Atri has become synonymous with Manjhi, 'pahad purush' to locals. The village Bansi Bigaha under Gehlaur panchayat, where he was born in 1934, is now known as Dasrath Nagar. Even though he had the grit and patience to cut a passage through a hill, he had to work hard to move the bureaucracy. He made innumerable rounds to the Patna Secretariat demanding metalled approach roads between Atri and Wazirganj and Atri and Gaya. Atri got the roadsóbut only after Manjhi's death. Detected with cancer, he was sent to AIIMS in Delhi for treatment at the expense of the state government. When he died, at 73, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had reached his village to receive his body and offered a state funeral.
Simlesh Kumar, a resident of nearby Bela village, says, "We have grown up listening to stories about Dasrath Baba. He was our superman."
Everybody is now waiting for the six-bed Dasrath Manjhi Hospital to open in Dasrath Nagar. Villagers still have to travel seven kilometres to reach the crowded Atri block hospital. An additional public healthcare centre providing OPD services at Gehlaur is all that they have in the name of medical care.
- Government must resolve growing burden of non-performing assets
- Outrage over police assault on students is meaningless
- Right to a toilet: For the health, dignity and safety of women in slums
- Raja-Mandala: Maritime India versus Continental Delhi
- The Akhilesh-Mulayam duet
- We have turned our back to the intense food and drinking water distress