NH-53 bridges in pathetic conditions, no spare parts with BRO
Finally, State to take over NH-53 from BRO

Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, June 15 2010: National Highway 53, which has been under the care of the Border Road Task Force since 1968, will be taken over by the State Government.

A resolution to this end was adopted during a meeting of the SPF Cabinet this morning.

The Cabinet resolution has been despatched to the Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways.

A Cabinet Minister in the SPF Government informed The Sangai Express that the State Government decided to take over the development and maintenance work of NH-53 after deliberating on the way the BRTF has been working on the highway.

When The Sangai Express contacted an official of the 765 BRTF, he said that his unit is responsible from Imphal to BArak bridge stretch, while the remaining stretch till Silchar is under the 36 BRTF.

A bottom suspender clamp which gave way and inset the clamp where it was supposed to be

Admitting that they face a lot of inconveniences, the official said they have to cope with the villagers nearby who usually take away the material (stones and chips) for laying the road, landslides etc.

However the BRTF has been utilising its man power to the optimum level, he said.

The official added that they are yet to receive a formal intimation from the Government on taking charge of NH-53 .

The State Cabinet also agreed to provide immediate funds out of the State budget for strengthening NH-53 by the State PWD.

Notably, a Ministerial team led by Works Minister K Ranjit travelled along NH-53 till Jiribam recently and conducted an on the spot assessment of the condition of the highway.

After returning to Imphal, the team submitted its report to the Government.

Most of the Ministers attending the Cabinet meeting, which was presided by the Chief Minister, today expressed disgust over the way BRTF was developing and maintaining the Imphal-Jiribam section of NH-53 .

The Cabinet meeting also studied the flaws and anomalies in the census exercise.

Double entry of data such as inclusion of a same individual in the census data of two districts also figured prominently in the meeting.

It agreed to give necessary instruction to the relevant census officials to correct and avoid such errors.

The Cabinet meeting further directed the Revenue Department and Hills Department to prepare a list of all revenue and hill villages so as to prevent any overlapping and to place it before the next meeting of the Cabinet.

Following the Cabinet decision to take over NH 53, a team of PWD Executive Engineers left Imphal today to make a field study of Imphal-Jiribam highway.

Moreover, four bull dozers have also been sent to NH 53 today.

Significantly inspite of the all out effort to transport essential items through National highway-53 disruption of vehicular movement on the route cannot be ruled out as additional bridge repairing parts are not in adequate stock with the BRTF.

An official of the State Public Works Department, speaking on condition of anonymity said when stranded vehicles crossed the Barak bridge on June 9 afternoon, a loose bottom suspender clamp fell into the river which was later replaced with one of the only two additional parts which were in stock with the BRTF unit manning the route.

Even though the said bridge has been repaired, cracks in other bridges were spotted by PWD officials on the same day and not repairing the structures at the earliest would mean stoppage of vehicular movement, particularly loaded trucks, said the source.

As BRTF has run out of stock of bridge repairing parts, the State PWD has reportedly contacted Kolkata-based Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineer Ltd to place procurement orders.

Apart from bottom suspender clamps, the works Department has also intimated the Kolkata firm to provide seasoned/tempered planks to repair some creaky bridges located along the Imphal-Jiribam route, the PWD official said while disclosing that planks presently used in these bridges do not conform to prescribed norms.

it is said that planks used in the construction of bridge structures should be taken from timbers that had been seasoned for no less than five years so as to last for about 3-4 years.

Among others, sub-standard planks were found used on Barak and Makru bridges, the official maintained who also confided than even though there was positive response, the Kolkata firm insisted that requisite amount of Rs 54 lakhs be deposited.

In case the said amount is deposited, the firm has given its assurance to transport the ordered items at Jiribam within 2-3 days time , the official conveyed and added that it is upto the higher authorities to take the right initiative in ensuring disruption free vehicular movement along NH-53 which had become an inevitable lifeline after vehicles with registration number of Manipur has been prohibited through Nagaland State.

The PWD had proposed purchase of bottom suspender clamp, seasoned planks and riband angles, with the latter a vital component to stabilise the planks.