Cabinet decides to take back NH 53 from BRTF
Cabinet urges Centre to hand over NH 53 to state
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, June 15 2010: THE STATE Cabinet today decided to take the responsibility of improving and maintenance of National Highway 53 from the Border Road Task Force (BRTF) and hand it over to the State Public Works Department.

The decision was taken after thorough discussion of the reports submitted by Works Minister K Ranjit on his inspection tour of the NH 53 along with top officials of PWD on a few occasions including as recent as that of June 7 to 9 .

Reliable sources said that the Cabinet meeting held today with the Chief Minister, O Ibobi in the chair took note of the fact that the condition of the Highway has become more and more deplorable since the BRTF had not paid attention to maintaining and improving the Highway.

Minister Ranjit asserted before the Cabinet at its meeting today that it would be much better if the PWD takes the responsibility of maintaining and improving the highway.

He further said that if the State Government allows the BRTF to look after the NH 53 any further even though it does not do anything to improve the condition and maintain the Highway, the people's high expectation would be in vain.

People of Manipur now want to use the NH 53 as the second and most important lifeline, and do not want to travel on NH 39 ever again, Minister Ranjit said.

Copies of the decision of today's Cabinet meeting have been sent to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Minister of Surface Transport and Highways, Kamal Nath, urging them to approve of the State Cabinet's decision.

The Cabinet meeting also discussed complaints and reports of having the names of people, who migrate from one place to another, repeatedly.

The Cabinet decided to instruct the DCs concerned to look into the reports carefully and submit a report to the Cabinet as soon as possible.

Works Minister K Ranjit later told this newspaper that the episode of the Guite Road being taken back from BRTF by the PWD, but had to be returned to the BRTF due to pressure of some groups of people in Churachandpur district, would not be repeated this time.

One main reason is that the Central Government has already decided not to allocate further funds for improvement of NH 53, even though the BRTF has submitted a new DPR for improvement of the Highway to the Central Government, and is waiting for its approval.

The Centre has not released funds for the same.

Therefore, if the Centre approves the State Cabinet's decision, the State Government will be able to take up improvement works on the Imphal-Jiribam portion of the NH 53 without any complication, Minister Ranjit said.

Chief Minister O Ibobi will go to Delhi within this week and insist the Centre on handing over the responsibility for improvement and maintenance of the Highway to the State Government.

Even though the Centre approves the Cabinet decision or not, the PWD has sent another two JCBs and two bull-dozers to be ready for any emergency works.

There are already two JCBs and two bull-dozers put into work in the landslide affected areas, Minister Ranjit said.