Students Forced to Cross River on Plastic Drums to Get to School

Students at Tungni village in Madhya Pradesh use boats made of drums to cross the river and go to school.

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In the absence of a bridge in Tungni village situated at Ratlam District in Madhya Pradesh, hundreds of people including school children cross a river using a ‘boat’ made of plastic drums.

For years, this makeshift boat made of two plastic drums fitted onto a wooden base with the help of ropes has remained the only mode of transportation for the locals residing in the village.

Everyday, people of the village including school kids, elderly people and women, risk their lives and use this boat to cross the 35-metre-wide and 12-foot-deep Lakhunder river.

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. During rainy season, it is very scary to cross the river as the water flows swiftly.
Deep Singh, Village Headman 

Whether it is to go to school, work or to see a doctor in the hospital, using this drum-boat is the only way for the people of this village to cross the river. Students including young girls can be seen pulling the boat with ropes and using it to cross over to the other side.

Despite the construction of a concrete bridge over the river, the villagers allege that the work is going at a very slow pace.

Years have passed since the construction of the bridge was started but the construction work is going at a very slow pace. We demand the bridge to be constructed before the next monsoon season. The absence of a bridge is not only a risk to the lives of people but also stops the overall development of the village.
Gopal Singh, Villager

Meenakshi Singh, a senior official in the district collector's office, says that the sufferings of the people will soon come to an end.

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.
Meenakshi Singh, Senior Official, District Collector’s Office

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