CM assures priority on NH-53
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 08 2010: Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh has informed member of the house that neither National Highway 39 nor 53 are under the control or supervision of the national highways Authority of India.

Responding to queries from the Leader of the opposition Radhabinod Koijam and MPP's O Joy Singh on illegal activities along the Imphal-Dimapur and Imphal-Jiribam section of the NHs, the Chief Minister expressed that Government of India should not shirk its responsibility of ensuring that activists of both factions of the NSCN remain at their respective designated camps as the rebel groups are currently under ceasefire agreement with the Centre.

He also stated that as the issue of law and order of Nagaland is the prerogative of the Govt of the neighbouring State, Manipur Government could not interfere.

The CM, however, asserted that Central Government officials are being consulted to prevail over authorities of nagaland Government to act responsibly so as to promote cordiality between the adjacent States.

Ibobi also maintained that due to collection of illegal taxes openly by NSCN cadres within Nagaland vehicle operators of Manipur are reluctant to ply along the Imphal-Dimapur section of NH-39 .

Regarding development of the NHs, he pointed out that as entrusting BRO to maintain the highways for the last many decades is not satisfactory decision had been taken to hand over the responsibility to the State PWD.

The CM further asserted that inspite of the Centre's reluctance to provide sufficient fund for development of Imphal-Jiribam route on the ground that construction of the Tipaimukh Dam stands to submerge certain stretch of the highway, the SPF Government is keen to upgrade the important route with available resources at the disposal of the State Government on priority basis.

Noting that deployment of a handful of BRO personnel with shovels to clear landslide debris is unrealistic and that construction of Tipaimukh Dam is yet to be finalised, he reiterated that inspite of financial shortages development activities have already commenced along the Imphal-Jiribam route of NH-53 .

Earlier, Radhabinod Koijam told the CM that development and security of NH sections within Manipur should be the responsibility of the Government of Manipur.

While noting that vehicle operators are unwilling to ply through Nagaland as travel on this section of the Highway is considered unsafe, the former Chief Minister questioned initiative of the SPF Government to what extent the Centre had been apprised to promote cordial relationships between the Governments of Manipur and Nagaland.

He also expressed concern that lack of responsibility on the part of the Nagaland Government for a safe highway has resulted in people of Manipur enduring severe inconveniences.

In his comment, O Joy alleged inaction on the part of Government of Nagaland to sustain inter-state cordiality and asked what measures had been taken by the SPF to highlight to the Central Government unbridled collection of illegal taxes by the NSCN (IM) .