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Manjhi is not alone: Odisha man carves 8km-long road through hills to send kids to school

Think Change India
12th Jan 2018
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We all know the story of Dashrath Manjhi, the mountain man who carved up an entire mountain in Bihar for 22 straight years so that people could reach the doctor in time. While Dashrath made a road of 360 feet, in what looks like a replication of this story, Jalandhar Nayak carved up a mountain in Odisha and a built a road stretching up to eight kilometres.

Image source: BBC

Nayak worked for eight hours every single day for two years in an attempt to connect his village Gumsahi to a main road in the nearby town Phulbani. Nayak is 45 years old and what compelled him towards the carving up was seeing his three sons struggle through the hills to cross them so that they could reach school.

Several news stories came out in the local newspapers that talked about Nayak's work but it had been out of the light only until the district collector invited him over to her office and appreciated him for his work. With the road construction already on track thanks to Nayak, the collector had instructed the Block Development Officer (BDO) of Phulbani to finish everything up by gathering labourers and the necessary resources. The collector even offered to provide Nayak with the necessary financial support.

Not just that, Nayak made sure that not a single tree was cut down in this process.

Sibashakti Biswal, a local reporter who was the first one to cover Nayak's story, 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."

However, Nayak, his wife and his three sons are the only ones residing in the village owing to poor basic necessities and roads. Nayak makes a living and provides for his family by selling vegetables.

He told Times Now,

"The district collector has assured me to complete the construction of the road to my village."

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