Imphal-Jiribam travel route takes 2/3 days
Source: The Sangai Express / Jacob Panmei

Jiribam, July 03 2010: Strange it may sound, but it is a reality that nowadays it takes two to three days for a commuter to reach Imphal from Jiribam and vice versa which is a distance of just 222 Kms.

It has become a regular and inescapable encounter for any one travelling between Imphal and Jiribam along NH 53 to come across clearing landslides, repairing bridges and filling potholes.

It is a nightmarish experience and a memorable one for any one travelling along NH 53, specially during rainy season.

One can also hear commuters who have travelled along the highway complaining and pledging not to take the route ever again in future.

The condition of the highway which was already in bad shape deteriorated to the worst as hundreds of goods laden trucks started plying on the route daily.

Being a single-lane highway, if often takes hours for vehicles to give passage to other vehicles coming from the opposite direction.

Frequent landslides which often stranded vehicles in the middle of the highway has also been seriously impeding traffic.

Women and children travelling along the highway are the worst sufferers in the event of vehicles halting in the middle of the journey.

They face severe inconveniences if they have to stop for a night or two which is often the case.

There is no proper place for fooding or lodging.

One commuter who arrived at Jiribam from Imphal after a journey of three tiresome days fumed that if punishment is to be given to someone, make him/her travel on NH 53 .

"There cannot be bigger punishment than to make someone travel on this worst highway of the country", added the commuter.

Making matter worse, shopkeepers particularly hotel owners who are running their business along the highway are literally minting money from the hapless commuters.

One commuter said that he had to purchase a plate of rice with dal at Rs 70 when he was stranded at Barak.

Though unreasonably costly, hundreds of passengers had to pay the exorbitant price for the sparse meal as they were left with no other option.

Another commuter decried that a plate of rice with a little meat cost Rs 100 at Nungba.

One driver confided that he bought a quarter bottle of Indian Foreign Liquor to have his dose before meal at an exorbitant price from an outlet at Barak.

Bootleggers along the highway are doing brisk business in an unprecedented manner.

A social activist from Jiribam said that shopkeepers along NH 53 should help the weary commuters instead of taking advantage of their hapless condition.

Notably security forces deployed along the highway have been assisting the commuters in their best capacity.

Unless the concerned authority given serious that at the earliest, hurdles for commuters are likely to increase manifold in the days to come.