Residents of Silpata village in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district have reason to celebrate. This week, the villagers welcomed the first-ever bus to their remote village.
The Times of India quoted senior residents of the village, who recalled the back-breaking trek they had to undertake to reach the nearest market for their daily necessities all these years.
But the new 21-km road connecting the village with the tehsil headquarters at Adi Badri, built under the Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojana, is bound to bring huge relief for the villagers.
"We had been hoping that a road would be built to our village ever since the country became independent. I am happy that it has at least happened in our lifetimes. Now, the future generations will not have to face the difficulties that we had to endure," Kalam Singh Bisht, a resident of the village, told the daily.
A grand welcome
The maiden run of the bus, operated by the Uttarakhand Transport Corporation, was welcomed by the villagers amid much fanfare. The residents organised a welcome ceremony to mark the arrival of the bus, the daily reported.
While some villagers expressed their gratitude towards Congress MLA from Karanprayag, Anusuya Prasad Maikhuri, for making the road possible, others told the daily that the project was delayed.
"Most of the remote villages in our area had been linked with motorable roads two years back, but we kept waiting for a road for several years. We had to resort to repeated hunger strikes and protest marches before our project was taken up on priority," a villager told TOI.
BS Rawat, executive engineer who undertook the project has denied the claims. "It was difficult to build the road in this terrain, but we managed to complete it within eighteen months," he said.