TODAY -

Manipur on the map of worst roads
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, March 24, 2013 A recent journey from Imphal to Agartala brought to light that the worst sections of National Highways are found in Manipur whereas in Tripura, not a single pothole was seen.

Like in Manipur where many sections are covered by columns of dust during dry seasons and thick layers of slush during rainy season, some sections of the highways in Assam are also tortuous to travellers.

One would come across such pathetic conditions on Imphal-Jiribam (NH 37) highway which connects to Silchar in Assam.

It would be interesting if one compares the condition of NH 37 with NH-44 which starts from Badarpur near Silchar and ends at Udaipur in Tripura after passing through Agartala.

Even though local media have published the existing condition of NH 37 every now and then, it merits a comparative study.

One may say that Imphal-Awangkhul section of the highway has improved considerably but the remaining portions have not seen any improvement so far.

The condition of the highway from Awangkhul to Barak bridge is fearsome.

After crossing Barak bridge, the road is all covered by stones (for expansion of the highway) upto Nung Dolan.

Between Shanti Khunou and Kaimai, the highway is in the stage of laying WBM.

Black-topping has also been done in some portions.

But Kaimai-Old Kaiphundai section has seen little improvement.

Nonetheless, Old-Kaiphundai to Jiribam section has been black-topped smoothly.

As for the Barak and Makru suspension bridges which are the most important links of NH 37, they are what they were before.

Some new bridges has been constructed while a few others are under construction.

It remains a big question whether BRO can complete the highway work by December this year.

Jiribam-Silchar road is relatively better but some double-lanning works and bridges remain incomplete.

NH 44 is also being maintained by BRO under Project Setuk.

After passing through Silchar, there are certain portions where the highway is all covered by dust.

The portions are in the plain area.

Near Churaibari which is in the border area of Assam-Tripura border, a few kilometres of the highway is as pitiable as the worst portions of Imphal-Jiribam highway.

Once crossing into Tripura, the highway is quite smooth and not a single pothole can be seen.

Yet, one has to pass through hilly terrain before reaching Agartala.

Incidentally, the distance between Silchar and Agartala is 408 Kms.

Just as Imphal-Jiribam journey takes a day's time, travelling from Silchar to Agartala takes similar number of hours.

In the whole course of the journey, very few registration of entries were seen in both Assam and Tripura.

According to the driver which took the media team to Agartala, certain amounts of money were taken from all vehicles which made entries at police stations and police outposts located between Imphal and Jiribam.

Apart from police check-posts, entries are also made at some Assam Rifles, Army and CRPF check-posts opened between Imphal and Jiribam.

In addition, the transporters have been enduring extra burden in the form of illegal taxes levied by insurgent groups, said the driver.

One senior journalist who was part of the touring team remarked, "Policemen of other States helped us and when we crossed into our own state, our own policemen started demanding money".

Nonetheless, there is a certain section of NH 44 near Agartala which is prone to highway robbery.

CRPF troops patrol this section from 7 am to 4 pm every day.


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