Drivers stranded along NH-39 in dire straits
Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, September 09 2011:
Drivers and transporters who have been stranded at different places along the National Highway 39 in Nagaland and Assam due to the on-going economic blockade are literally drowned in a sea of misery.
On the other hand, the Dimapur MSRTC complex which could otherwise provide some relief to the stranded transporters is lying in complete shambles.
A team of media persons based at Imphal visited the stranded transporters under the aegis of All Manipur Working Journalists' Union (AMWJU) .
The media team witnessed the extreme misery being endured by the stranded truckers as well as the utter chaos in the MSRTC complex at Dimapur.
Around 90 loaded trucks were spotted stranded at Lahorijan, Khatkhati and Bokajan areas in Assam.
Another 60 trucks were also found stranded at Khuzama, Zakhama and the erstwhile MSRTC complex (now taken over by the State Transport Department) at Dimapur in Nagaland.
At Khatkhati, around 40 loaded trucks were seen at three/four different parking lots.
Earlier, around 300 trucks were stranded here but most of the trucks have left for Imphal either through Jiribam or Jessami, said one truck driver Anandkumar.
With temperature relatively higher at Dimapur and Assam than Manipur, many of the stranded truckers are now suffering from diarrhoea, fever and skin diseases.
The greatest misery is however, lack of safe drinking water and proper latrines.
Though most of the goods owners have shown little concern for the misery being suffered by the stranded transporters, the truck owners have been providing some assistance.
"We have been contributing whatever we have in order to avoid starving", Anandkumar said.
He explained that they remained stranded there as the relevant authority has not been giving assent to the transit pass for crossing one State into another.
Under similar situation, many other truckers were also seen enduring the severest woes at Bokajan.
Many of these trucks were transporting glass, plywood, steel, newsprint, GI sheets, heavy electrical and other articles.
Around 16 loaded trucks were also seen stranded at the Dimapur MSRTC complex.
Even as they were being helplessly exposed to heat and rain as well as mosquitoes, no authority has taken up any measure to address their woes except for some assistance extended by the Dimapur Meitei Union.
The truckers made fervent appeals to the Government to make some arrangements so as to enable the stranded truckers reach Manipur.
On the other hand, the Dimapur MSRTC complex was seen lying in complete shambles with no one to look after it.
Former secretary of the Dimapur Meitei Union, Binod Khaba said that the union looked after the complex at one time.
However, with the Government of Manipur paying little attention to the complex, people steadily started encroaching into complex.
Members of the union went to Imphal and conveyed the situation to the relevant officials and the Minister as well as the Chief Minister.
The complex is now home to many private houses, pan shops, tea stalls and motor workshops.
On enquiry by the union, it was found that the Government of Manipur has already leased out the land for some rent.
The silence of the Government of Manipur on the matter has peeved the Manipuris settled in and around Dimapur whose number is around 10,000, said Binod Khaba.
Moreover, Manipuri Rest House built inside the complex remained incomplete due to negligence by the Government of Manipur.