Govt's bid to take over NH-53 runs into choppy water
Source: The Sangai Express / Jacob Panmei

Imphal, July 20 2010: The decision of the State Cabinet to take over the responsibility of developing National Highway-53 from BRO has drawn severe criticism from various sections of the society with many organisations including All Zeliangrong Students' Union (AZSU) expressing their strong reservation against the decision.

People are apprehensive that the condition of the National Highway stretch from Imphal to Jiribam would worsen from the existing dilapidated condition if the PWD takes up the assignment to develop the Highway.

During a recent survey, it was discovered that people from every walk of life, who spoke to this correspondent, expressed their desire to let the BRO continue its service of developing the Highway.

NH-53, where repair work is going on at full swing in the news again

A social activist in Tamenglong fumed that the inefficiency of the State PWD is known to all and the decision of the State Cabinet with regard to NH-53 is very unfortunate.

A glaring example on the inefficiency of the PWD is that a stretch of just 39 kms from Khongsang to Tamenglong, which was assigned to PWD could not be repaired nor completed even after 3 decades.

But the road stretch got its much required repair only after BRO took over the charge from PWD, the social activist further cited.

On village authority member of Kaiphundai expressed anguish over the decision of the State Cabinet and urged everyone settling along the Highway to stand up and oppose the insensible decision of the State Government.

One BRTF labourer of Luangkao expressed apprehension of losing his job if the PWD takes responsibility over National Highway 53 .

A chairman of Sibilong village authority rued that the mischievous nature of PWD has started showing from its first appearance on the Highway.

The chairman, who has lost quite a large amount of his money through supply of stones to a contractor of PWD working in between Sibilong and Barak, lamented, ''I have borrowed the money from my friends for supply of stones to the contractor who promised me to pay back on time.

But the said contractor has been absconding and inquiring his whereabouts from his workers has proved futile''.

The chairman has also sought the intervention of Works Minister in this regard.

Joining in the chorus of resentment against the conduct of PWD along the National Highway 53, a Tata Sumo driver, who has been plying his vehicle in between Jiribam and Tamenglong, complained that instead of filling up the potholes or repairing the Highway, the PWD workers are minting money from hapless drivers.

The Tata Sumo driver confided that to pull out vehicles which got stuck in the mud along the Highway by using their JCB (earthmover), PWD workers have been charging Rs 200 from each vehicle.

A truck driver also stated that apart from pulling out stuck vehicles by charging Rs 200 per vehicle, no sign of improvement have been noticed since the deployment of PWD workers along the National Highway.

A social activist of Jiribam suggested that it is high time for the PWD to prove its mettle and strive hard to win the trust of the people.