Residents of West Kodiyathur in Kozhikode join hands to make road widening dream a reality

Though the residents petitioned the panchayat several times to widen the road, the latter cited land acquisition difficulties to turn down the request.
Shamim Kalangad, a specially-abled student, makes a donation during the ‘Road Kalyanam’ crowdfunding initiative on Sunday.
Shamim Kalangad, a specially-abled student, makes a donation during the ‘Road Kalyanam’ crowdfunding initiative on Sunday.(Photo | Express)

KOZHIKODE: Development of a region, or its lack thereof, affects everyone equally no matter their ideology or preferred place of worship.

When the narrow width of the road passing through their area started hampering their day-to-day life, residents of West Kodiyathur in Kozhikode, cutting across political and religious lines, joined hands to widen it.

The dwellers of the remote village in Kodiyathur panchayat near Mavoor donated the land required to widen the West Kodiyathur-Idavazhikadavu road. The work was launched some time back. On Sunday, they organised ‘Road Kalyanam’, a crowdfunding initiative, to raise the required funds to finish the work. All the residents irrespective of their age and income contributed generously. Though the residents petitioned the panchayat several times to widen the road, the latter cited land acquisition difficulties to turn down the request. The authorities, however, said they will carry out tarring and other works if the acquisition is completed.

That was when the residents formed a collective with ward member M T Riyas as head, following which 107 of them voluntarily decided to part away with 1.5m of land on either side for the widening.

Around 500 families reside on either side of the road. The place also has a lower primary school, two anganwadis, a madrassa and temple each and two churches.

The 3-m-wide road had been making life difficult for them, as they could not even bring a big vehicle to their home. Students walk to their educational institutions daily. The situation worsens if there is a wedding or death in the locality.

“When the panchayat told us about the acquisition issue, we decided to start widening works ourselves. None of the families or institutions demanded a rupee as compensation for donating land. However, we had to knock down compound walls of several houses and institutions to widen the road. The estimated cost of rebuilding the walls comes to around `60 lakh,” said P K Faizal, one of the members of the Kodiyathur Development Committee. He said a temple, church and a madrassa came under the area of construction, and office-bearers of the religious institutions donated land without objection. “That was the best part. Their desire to see development in their village united the residents,” Faizal said.

The widening works were launched in 2022 and 90% of the work is over, Faizal said. “We carried out crowdfunding to collect money for completing the rest of the works. Since the road will be 6m upon completion, it will be taken over by the district panchayat. The Kodiyathur panchayat has already earmarked `15 lakh for tarring. If all goes well, we expect to complete all the works, including tarring, in a year,” he said.

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