By Bilal Kuchay
In absence of a bridge, hundreds of people including school children in an Indian village have to cross a river using a boat made of plastic drums.
For years, this makeshift boat made up of two plastic drums fitted on to a wooden base with the help of ropes has remained the only mode of transportation for people in Tungni village in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.
Every day people – including school kids, elderly people and woman, risk their lives and use this boat to cross the 35-meter wide and 12ft deep Lakhunder river.
Whether it is to go to school, work or to see a doctor in the hospital, using this boat is the only way for the people of this village to cross the river.
Village headman, Deep Singh, said: “Many children had fallen into the river using this boat.
“They were rescued by the locals but had those incidents taken place during the monsoon season, they would have died.
“The river flows at a slow pace but during rainy season, it is very scary to cross the river as water flows at a very fast pace.”
Visuals shows several students waiting on the river bank for their turns to cross the river.
Students including young girls can be seen in the video pulling the boat and using it to cross over to the other side.
Singh said: “Several children in the village quit their studies due to this reason.
“During monsoon season most of the parents, concerned about the safety of their children, do not send them to school.”
Though a concrete bridge is being constructed on the river but the villagers allege that the work is going at a snail’s pace.
A villager, Gopal Singh, said: “Years have passed since the construction of the bridge was started but the construction work is going at a slow pace.
“We demand the bridge to be constructed before the next monsoon season.
“The absence of bridge is not only risking the lives of people but also stops the overall development of the village.”
Meenakshi Singh, a senior official in the district collector’s office, said: “We have already directed the concerned departments and the contractors for the early completion of the bridge so that the people of this village would not have to suffer any more.”