Jalandar Nayak, a resident of Kandhamal, Odisha, has carved out an 8 km road from a mountain to connect his Gumsahi village to Phulbani city so that his children can go to school without having to take difficult and dangerous detours.
It took Nayak two years to achieve the feat.
“There was no school, anganwadi in the village and we had to go to the city through a difficult terrain, so I decided to construct a road. There is not even a hospital here and once I had to carry my pregnant wife 3 miles in a dola (basket) through it,” said Nayak.
For the last two years, Nayak would set out every morning with his tools and spend up to eight hours daily cutting rocks and removing boulders.
He said did not seek nor receive any help from local officials. Also, he took great care to ensure that not a single tree was cut while building the road.
“It is an almost inhabitable area where he lives, we had invited him to come and live in the city but he refused. Our support is there for him. Whether he will be felicitated or not is not decided as yet,” said SK Jena, Block Development Officer.