Drivers reluctant to ply on Guite Road
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, May 14 2010: Inspite of the State Government's plan to utilise the Singhat-Singzol-Tuivai section also known as Guite Road to ferry essential items, vehicle operators are apprehensive of the conditions of the road stretch.

The drivers of the goods laden trucks are still awaiting security at Jiribam and Silchar areas.

Taking into account absence of vehicular traffic (trucks) on Guite Road inspite of the Government's instruction, four Cabinet Ministers of the SPF Government are scheduled to make a spot assessment of the road condition tomorrow.

A reliable source said due to poor condition of Guite Road, drivers are unwilling to operate on the route as a result of which a number of goods laden trucks and passenger carriers have increased on the Imphal-Silchar NH-53 side.

The Guite Road connects Imphal with Mizoram via Churachandpur district.

In a telephonic conversation with some drivers who have been stranded at Jiribam and Silchar areas for over 20 days The Sangai Express it has come to light that despite the decision of the State Government to bring in essential items through the churachandpur via Mizoram route, the idea has found no takers among the vehicle operators particularly truck drivers.

Another source conveyed that from Churachandpur district headquarters upto Singhat sub-division condition of Guite road is comparatively better.

However, beyond the sub-divisional headquarters upto the Mizoram border of the road stretch, which the source described as 'horribly bad', is so narrow that even Tata Sumos coming from opposite direction cannot get past through each other.

Asserting that palying of loaded trucks on this road in the current condition is unimaginable, the source said that with the pre-monsoon rain pouring, condition of the road has worsened.

Apart from the deplorable condition of the route, the fact that Guite Road passes through over 50 kilometres of dense jungle, with no of security cover for long stretches and non-availability of mobile phone signal would certainly discourage drivers from taking the route, the source expressed.

It is informed that when development of Guite Road was under the funding of North Eastern Council, Rs 82 crore was sanctioned in December, 2005 out of which Rs 30 crore had already been utilised in road expansion work and the balance amount deposited in the PWD's account for WBM and black-topping works.

The source further reminded that even after the PWD floated tender for the remaining works, the same could not be implemented as objections were raised from certain Churachandpur based organisations that the BRO be entrusted with the task.

Consequently due to the stalemate the balance amount of Rs 50 crore has been returned to the NEC.

The drivers, meanwhile, said at least 80 goods laden trucks are stuck on the Jiribam side while about 50 LPG carriers (bullet tankers) are in Silchar, Assam.

As the bullet tankers are large in size plying through the narrow Guite Road is out of the question, they maintained.

They also claimed that cadres of an armed outfit with substantial dominance in Churachandpur district and one of the suspension of operation signatories impose 'tax' of varied amount from goods carriers in full combat uniform Songtal area of Guite Road.

Elaborating, the drivers said as entry tax an empty truck has to pay Rs 250 while passage of cement load would mean Rs 5 per bag.

As the trucks had been stranded for a long time transportation charge would automatically be increased from the previous amount of Rs 20,000 to about Rs 40,000 which will consequently effect prices of commodities when the loads reach Imphal, they observed.