Trucks to stop plying on NH-39
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, August 23: With ANSAM threatening to re-impose the economic blockade any day now, a number of civil societies including UPF, HERICOUN and IPSA and different transporter organisations and drivers union have decided not to ply on NH-39.A joint statement issued by the three civil societies said that trucks will stay off NH 39 until and unless a standing assurance is given that the vehicles will not be targeted and the heavy extortion racket run by an underground outfit along the route is stopped.

This decision was taken during a meeting held at the premises of Manipur Press Club today morning, said the statement.

Significantly even as the decision to stop plying on NH-39 was taken, the 36 BRTF has started the process of strengthening NH-53.This comes close on the heels of Union Home Secretary VK Duggal instructing the BRTF to make NH-53 fit for vehicular movement.

A task force has been formed to look after the maintenance and repairing work and the force will look after the Jiribam to Barak stretch of the said route.

Preparatory works for strengthening NH-53, including recruitment of local labourers have started, informed the CO of 36 BRTF, Mahesh Prasad while speaking to The Sangai Express today.

Till date 500 workers from Manipur have been recommended and medical test for the final selection is on, he said adding that another 1500 labourers will be recruited.

On the bridges on the highway, the CO said that three Bailey bridges will be converted to RCC bridges (permanent) and added that construction work for the same will start by the end of this year.

There are 26 bridges including Bailey and Hamilton types along this route, said the CO adding that all of them are in good condition.

The only hitch is that goods trucks should not weigh more than 15 tonnes to cross these bridges.

On the road repairing and construction work, Mahesh Prasad said that jungle cutting has been completed and widening exercise of the road has crossed the 30 kms stretch, from the Jiribam side.

Once the road widening task is completed, black topping of the road will be taken up.

Earlier other resolutions adopted at the meeting include asking transport agencies located outside Manipur not to send in any vehicles through NH-39 but to instead take the NH-53 route in future.

Any driver or transporter violating the agreed resolutions should be held responsible for any untoward incident, said the statement.

The meeting also resolved to exert the necessary pressure on the Centre, State Government and authorities of Indian Oil Corporation and others to build infrastructure so that the essential commodities may be lifted from an alternative site.

Infrastructure should be installed on a priority basis with an eye on the future, added the statement.

To ensure protection of drivers on the highways, the meeting resolved to approach the authority to deploy highway protection force, especially on the NH-39 stretch that passes through Nagaland.

The number of check posts within Nagaland should also be kept at the minimum, added the statement.

To ensure the speedy development of NH-53 to provide it a viable alternative, a Voluntary Monitoring Cell should be set up to routinely check the work progress, mooted the organisations and resolved to exert the necessary pressure on the authority concerned to fructify this.

The meeting also resolved to urge the Centre and the State Government to add more items on the Indo-Myanmar Trade Agreement and to allow bringing in the goods freely.

Security forces deployed on NH-53 should be made to work sincerely to ensure the security of the vehicles passing through this route, resolved the meeting, further.