25 May 2016 - 9:57pm | AS Tapader
The very term ‘National Highway’ brings to our mind, the vision of a broad well maintained road, with vehicles zipping past at high speeds. However, visit Barak Valley and the same term attains an altogether different meaning.
There has been no improvement in the condition of roads on a 150 kilometer-long stretch on National Highway between Malidhor in Assam and Churaibari in Tripura.
The road has virtually turned into a paddy field following incessant rains and administrative neglect.
Despite repeated requests from the Government of Tripura to their Assam counterpart, as also to the National Highways Authority of India, the situation remains unchanged.
The average number of vehicles plying per day over these Highways is around 6,500 vehicles (out of which 4000 are Heavy Vehicles) ply through this highways with men and goods. The disruption in their movement even for a day has its effect on normal life and economy of the regions. Quite surprisingly, though the road in question stands in stagnation since 2010, no effective steps have been taken by the PWD (NH) division which now maintains the highways.
The movement of vehicular traffic is hazardous with enormous potholes, craters, ditches and pools. National Highways have been in the grip of frequent mishaps and traffic congestion. In the event of light downpours, the highway remains blocked for days paralyzing the day to day life and communication of the entire region.
These Highways have been witnessing most unfortunate incidents like the pregnant mothers delivered babies on the road, patients died on the way to hospital. Price rise of essential commodities and abnormal fall of attendance in the educational institutions have caused grate damage.
The peoples of Barak valley and civil society organizations have exhausted all means of democratic protests in the last 5 years and had urged both the State and the Centre to take steps to improve the road, starting from Protest and mass movement, Dharnas, Hunger strikes, giving memos / ultimatums to all concerned, raising question in Assembly and Parliament. But all pleas fall into deaf ears.
Realizing that court’s intervention can bring positive change, A PIL (37/2016 ) was filed in Gauhati high court for appropriate relief by Adv A K Talukdar and Adv A S Tapader, seeking that the government be directed to improve the condition of roads and take action against the people responsible. The PIL also demanded to start the repair work immediately. To set up an high level inquiry to find out the culprits liable for all these condition and to take appropriate panel action by initiating appropriate criminal proceedings to prevent such a situation further. The Court has instructed the Standing councils to file affidavit within 3 weeks.