Ramchandra Das of Gaya is another Mountain Man from Bihar, who carved out a tunneled Road single handedly after working for 12 long years. Inspired by famous Dasrath Manjhi, Das took up the task of carving the road when authorities refused to construct the road to connect his village to the outside world.
Due to his efforts, the route to Gaya from his village has been cut by 25 kilometres thanks to his road. Earlier villagers used to drive for 20 kilometres to cross this area but now, it takes just 15 minutes.
Ramchandra Das aged 65, lives in Kewati village in Atari block of Gaya district, Bihar. Prior to taking up the daunting task of Road Carving, he was a truck Driver. The Fear of his Truck getting stolen always haunted him. “I had to leave my truck miles away, so I decided to do something about it myself,” says Das.
He was immensely inspired by the famous Dasrath Manjhi who had cleaved a 100-metre road across the hill in 1982.
“I pleaded with Manjhi to cut the hill that isolated my village. He chastised me and told me to be a man and cut the mountain. I followed his order,” said Das, a self-proclaimed disciple of Manjhi.
He took up this task in 1993 with the only company of Spade and hammer. For 12 long years he ignored his family and worked like a man possessed to build a road through the mountain. When he started, villagers laughed at him, some even calling him mad. But as the road began to surface, the village started rallying behind him. By 2005, a 14ft wide and 30ft long tunnel was ready across the mountains thus reducing the distance to neighboring town of Gaya by 25km.
This work earned Ramchandra a good deal of goodwill among fellow and neighboring villagers. Thanks to his road, it only takes 15 minutes to drive to Gaya. However he could not earn the degree of fame, Dasrath Manjhi received after carving 100 m road in 1982.
He neither received any support from fellow villagers during the whole 12 years. To an utter shock and despair, the village headman Baleswar Yadav asked him to level the road because his son had bought a Tata Safari. “My road was fit for tractors and bullock carts. Headman’s words offended me. I picked up the hammer again and leveled the road,” Das said.
Asked why he does not approach the government to improve the road, he said, “The government did not fulfil my guru’s wish; my request won’t yield any result.”
In 2008, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar pledged to fulfill Dasrath Manjhi’s request for a pucca (concrete) road through the hill. Manjhi died in January 2009. The government has since built everything in his memory, from a hospital to a community hall, but not the pucca road. Even the roads built by Manjhi and Das do not feature in the State Road Map.