Odds heavily stacked against PWD on NH-53
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 29 2010: The bold claim of the Public Works Department to repair NH-53 to serviceable condition, which ironically could not be developed to an all weather road for the last three/four decades, is nowhere near realisation till date.

Despite hundreds of truck loads of shingles and boulders sent in by the Transporters' and Drivers' Council determined to take only NH-53 and forgo NH39, the condition of Imphal-Jiribam highway is only getting worse.

A PWD official informed The Sangai Express that the road repairing work could make little progress mainly because of continuous movement of heavy vehicles and because of the rainy season.

Machineries utilised for purposes other than its intended ones

After mobilising a number of machinery, the road repairing work began on June 22 together with the seven contractors hired by the Government.

During this period, only eight days could be spared for repairing the highway as all the machinery were engaged in pulling up slipped or stuck vehicles throughout the period.

The PWD was hopeful that the road can be repaired to at least serviceable condition if the vehicular traffic is stopped for some days.

In accordance to an understanding with the Govt, one-way traffic pattern would be enforced on the highway and road repairing work would be done on alternate days.

But in reality, one-way traffic system cannot be enforced even for a single day so far.

Security personnel escorting vehicles would reach Jiribam first ahead of the convoy they were leading, not knowing if any vehicle got stuck in dilapidated portions or has broken down.

As the last means, the department has come to an understanding with transporters to suspend movement of vehicles for sometime so that repairing work can done at least for five/six days, conveyed the official.

Works Minister K Ranjit too conveyed the same message where machinery meant for repairing the highway are mostly engaged in assisting stranded trucks.

Consequent upon continuous movement of heavy vehicles, the wheel tracks are as deep as three feet in many portions of the highway.

The highway can be repaired to a motorable level if movement of vehicles is suspended for about 15 days.

However, under the present circumstances which are aggravated by the rainy season, the repairing work could not be done at the desired pace, added the Works Minister.

The maintenance and construction of NH-53 has been under the jurisdiction of the BRO for the last 30 years or so and apparently not satisfied with their work, the State Government had decided to entrust the PWD to carry out the task.

Not surprisingly, the All Zeliangrong Students' Union has strongly objected to the move of the State Government.