Nongthymmai Garo villager paves way for change

The resident spends over Rs 2 lakh to build a dilapidated road after no help from government

Shillong, May 20: When chosen public representatives ignore the plea of the electorate for development, then what does the common man do? He paves the way for change. Martin Sangma did that at Nongthymmai Garo.

The C.C. Motorable road of Nongthymmai Garo graveyard. Photo sourced
The C.C. Motorable road of Nongthymmai Garo graveyard. Photo sourced

A stretch of road in the village that led to the cemetery was lying unattended for years. It created problems for villagers as the path was slippery, especially during the monsoon.


Martin took the initiative to build the 1 km path, including a 130-m uphill stretch. With a donation of Rs 5,000 from a Baptist pastor and a pick-up van full of stone chips, Martin started the work without further waiting for help from the government. Members of the local Catholic church came forward to lay the road.

Martin spent Rs 2.5 lakh from his pocket. But this was not the first time that he took up a road project in the village. In the past, he had convinced villagers to build the road connecting the border village with Mykhuli.

“This particular road is an important connector and it was in dilapidated condition for a long time. We had appealed to the local MLA but nothing was done. Finally, my father and I decided to go ahead with the construction,” he told Meghalaya Monitor on the phone.

Martin’s father Philip O Sangma, who died in 2022, was the president of the block development office and Martin was the treasurer. They decided to start the work with the MGNREGA fund and engage local workers.

“Initially, the villagers did not believe us. They thought the road would never be complete. But I told them that we could make it in parts. Now, when the road is complete, they are happy,” said Martin.

It took over five years and Rs 15-20 lakh to complete the road.

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