India man builds road to village so children can visit

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Jalandhar NayakImage source, Simanchal Pattnaik
Image caption,
"All I want is a road," says the 45-year-old Mr Nayak

A man in the eastern Indian state of Orissa constructed an 8km (five miles) stretch of road with just a pick axe and crowbar so his schoolgoing children could visit home more often.

Jalandhar Nayak, 45, lives in a remote village, 10km from the residential school where his three sons study.

But the commute takes three hours because the boys have to trek across five hills to visit their home.

Local officials told the BBC they would lay the remaining 7km of road.

For the last two years, he set out every morning with his tools and would spend up to eight hours of the day cutting rocks and removing boulders.

He told local reporters that he hoped his sons would be able to come home more often on weekends or holidays once the road is completed.

The 15km-long road will connect Mr Nayak's village to the town where the school is located.

Government officials who have now taken over the construction said Mr Nayak would also be paid for the work he did.

Mr Nayak said he was "extremely happy" that the road would be completed by the government. He added that he had requested them to also provide village electricity and drinking water.

He said he had neither sought nor received any help from local officials, who only found out about what he was doing when he was featured in a local news bulletin earlier this month.

"I was impressed to find that he took great care to ensure that not a single tree was cut while building the road," Sibashakti Biswal, a local reporter who first interviewed Mr Nayak, said.

He added that the part of the road Mr Nayak had built was good enough even for cars to travel on.

National media outlets are comparing him to Dasharath Manjhi, the "mountain man" of Bihar who singlehandedly cut through hills and built a road to connect his village with the nearest town.