Travel travails

To reach Salboni from Medinipur town is indeed a challenge. Villagers too feel the same and are waiting for a change, resting their hopes on media pressure

pujab

Puja Bhattacharjee | December 5, 2012



Travel was one of the biggest challenges I faced when I first came to Medinipur. Although I stay in Medinipur town but my work involves travelling to villages in Salboni block which is about 35 km from the town. I mulled over several options. I thought of renting a cycle but changed my mind upon realising the distance I would have to cycle. I would have had to cycle 12 km out of the town and then through NH 60 which is risky given the number of truck and trailers on that stretch.

Once I reach Salboni block, I would have to locate a village. So as per my estimation about four hours would be spent in reaching the location and then there is travelling back as well.

Next I contemplated taking a bus. But the bus again would take me through NH 60 and drop me at the entrance of the village after which I would have to walk a few kilometres to reach the villages. So, finally I enlisted the services of a local guy who knows the place well and can take me around as per my convenience. This guy has worked as a stringer for various news channels and is abreast of the local issues.

Bikes are convenient for local travel. But it has its drawbacks as well. Cattle routinely graze by the side of the highway and often dart into the middle of the road. The driver has to be alert at all times and so do I. Potholes are another problem. Not that there are many but a few can be quite challenging especially for the pillion rider. The jerks are often very painful. Bike rides are otherwise very enjoyable. You get to feel the fresh breeze, which is missing in a car with windows rolled up.

Every time I revisit a village, the villagers ask me, “When can we see some change in the way things run?” I try to reassure them that with sustained reportage we are hopeful that change will come about. At these times I become aware the degree of responsibility I have been entrusted with. I need to do my best to bring about some positive development at least for the sake of these people.
 

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