TODAY -

Securing the Highways
- Sangai Express Editorial :: January 10, 2009 -



It is now more than clear that what the State needs on a priority basis is to work out a system in which the National Highways, particularly NH-39, can be protected from the numerous and frequent blockades and bandhs that are imposed on this highway.

Other than this the State too needs an alternative life line and improving NH-53 and making it motorable all the year round is also extremely important. Unfortunately the Government seems to be sleeping over the issue and after the hype that was shown to improve NH-53 during the 52 day ANSAM sponsored economic blockade in 2005, NH-53 seems to have disappeared from the radar of the Government.

It is also extremely significant to note that while hectic activities were taken up during the economic blockade, Chief Minister O Ibobi did not deem it fit to even pay an inspection tour to NH-53.

The then Governor SS Sidhu, however visited the Highway by road and it is a pity that no other political leaders followed the example set by the Governor.

While no efforts should be spared to provide a second life line to the State, the Government also need to work out a model on how to protect the lifelines of the State from the numerous bandhs and blockades that are being imposed by one organisation or the other demanding one thing or the other.

Providing security escort to the trucks cannot be the final solution and it would be a big drain on the State exchequer too. It is here that we would like to question the Government on what has happened to the much publicised and hyped Highway Protection Force. Setting up such a force will not only provide protection along the Highways but will also mean opening the employment avenue to many of our young and fit unemployed youths.

If the State Government can work out a feasible plan and draw up a policy that would appear to work, then we are more than sure that the Centre too would accept such a proposal.

The cost of setting up such a force should not be a detriment, if we calculate the losses incurred by the State every year on account of blockades on the Highways. Practical tips may be taken from the Railway Protection Force, if needed.

If and once the force is set up then security posts may be opened at strategic points along the Highway. The point that we are stressing is that for too long the State Government has remained impotent whenever it comes to any issue regarding NH-39 and NH-53.

If the Government cannot protect its only link to the outside world, then it reduces the meaning of a State to a farce, a big one at that. Providing security to it citizens is one of the prime responsibilities for any Government and surely failing to secure the life link of the people amounts to failing to provide protection to the citizens.

The SPF Government has its task cut out. No doubt raising a Highway Protect Force will not be a cake walk, but this should not be any reason for the Government to forget its duties.





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