Tinsukia: Local residents taking upon themselves and making bamboo bridges over rivers for connectivity is nothing new in Assam.
However, a new bamboo bridge in Assam’s Tinsukia district is making headlines as the residents have decided to name it after Assamese singer Zubeen Garg.
Residents of Tengapani, the last and remote village on Assam-Arunachal border, have constructed a 490-metre bamboo bridge over Na-Dihing river to connect them to the ‘mainland’.
“The Assam government and district administration have neglected us for years now,” Sarat Chetia, village headman of Tengapani village, told EastMojo.
Our children had to cross the river every day to attend Middle English and High School located at Suraj Chariali, around 10 km from the village, Chetia added.
Tengapani village houses over 100 families. Most families have three to four children, many of them married, staying in a joint family setup.
Sarat said, “We knocked the doors of Hahakati Panchayat but our requests fell on deaf ears. We then wrote to the district administration, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, demanding a bridge to be built, but no one bothered to pay heed to our issues.”
“Finding no alternative, the locals of Tengapani village and around 10 additional villages on the other side of the border in Arunachal’s Namsai district joined hands and constructed this bamboo bridge,” Bulbul Maut, a social worker residing in Dirak Charali, explained.
Maut said, it took them over a month to construct the bridge made of more than 4,000 bamboos. “Every family gave some or the other material to construct the bridge. They worked day and night and completed the bridge which will now reduce the time to cross river to 5 minutes, from an hour earlier.”
Asked why the bridge has been named Zubeen Garg birdge, Maut said, “This area is full of natural beauty, forest and is known for its lemon and rice cultivation. The singer’s name will help us make ourselves visible in the eyes of people sitting in the mainland, who have power and can make a difference.”
Moreover, the singer through his songs has always been a reason for enthusiasm for the villagers, said Maut, adding, “They feel, Zubeen da is a great social worker, and has always stood for the people of Assam. Naming the bridge after Zubeen Garg will help the village move forward and get a boost to its lemon and rice cultivation.”
Meanwhile, Garg wrote a thanksgiving message on his official Facebook account, stating, “My respect and salute to the people of Kakopathar for this overwhelming love and affection for me. Planning to come on Feb 29 to inaugurate it”.
The bridge — a hope for thousands of villagers — is all set to be inaugurated on February 29 by the legendary singer and bring a vital change in the lives of people, whom the government seemed to have forgotten since Independence.