Kerala father, son fulfil long-time wish and build road to their house during lockdown

Being in a hilly area, their house could only be reached on foot earlier but with the newly built road, even a four-wheeler can reach their house now.
Father son duo Kozhikode
Father son duo Kozhikode
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58-year-old Augustine waited 13 years for a proper road to his house in Kozhikode district’s Koodaranji. Being in an undulating area, he could reach his house only by foot after climbing a hill. Not even a two-wheeler could navigate the path to his house.

Augustine had handed over 15 cents of his land 14 years ago to the panchayat for construction of a road, but nothing had come of it. However, during the lockdown, he approached the panchayat authorities again – not to plead for the road but to seek permission to carve a road by himself.

For 38 days, Augustine and his 27-year-old son Joseph worked from early morning till evening for nearly 10 hours every day. At the end of this, they had carved a 200-meter-long road with an eight-meter width. It was not easy carving through laterite rocks with just a pickaxe and hoe to construct the road.

“It was tiring but we were working towards our aim,” Augustine says.

The father-son duo did not have any other help while constructing the mud road. With the newly built road, even a four-wheeler can reach their house now.

“Earlier I had to carry sacks of cattle feed and other essential things as head load to my house. It’s a hilly area. For many years we were waiting for a road but for some reasons the panchayat was not able to construct it. That is why my son and I decided to do something fruitful in these lockdown days,” Augustine, who is a farmer, told TNM.

Joseph works as a supervisor in a private firm in Kozhikode.

Some families living next to Augustine’s house will also be benefitted as they have to travel just half the distance now to reach their home from the main road.

“Earlier we had to travel 4 km from the main road to reach home, now the distance has reduced to 2 km,” Augustine says.

Another reason Augustine put in the hard work was his debts.

“My son went to study agriculture in Tamil Nadu after taking an education loan. But three years into the course, he had to drop out due to illness. Now the loan is pending. On top of this, I too had a housing loan. So we were planning to sell our property to repay the debts. But as there was no proper road approach to the house, nobody was offering a good amount,” he adds.

The family is now expecting to sell the property at the market rate and repay their debts. “We were not sure whether it would be possible at all. But we started with determination and it turned out well,” he says.

However, Augustine is worried that in the upcoming monsoon season the mud road they built may be ruined by heavy rains. “Since it’s a hilly area and this is a mud road, it may be damaged if there is heavy rain. We hope the authorities convert it to a concrete road before the monsoon,” he adds.

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