The State of the highways in Assam is such today that leave alone recognizing them as highways, it is not possible even to recognize them as roads in most cases. This is an unusual state of affairs for at least two reasons. In the first place, their present state as stretches of mudfields is a recent unfortute development in the State. Till about two years ago, the highways in Assam (especially NH 37) were in reasobly acceptable condition and driving down these highways was not the kind of nightmare that it is today. Today, a negotiable access to Silchar has ceased to exist, and several stretches of even NH 37 are really mudfields full of huge potholes. Such a situation does not exist anywhere in the civilized world. Secondly, highways have improved all over the world instead of getting worse. All over the civilized world, highways are not only getting wider, but much smoother than they used to be. The situation in Assam is that the PWD has entrusted the work of building roads entirely to contractors without any moral values. They are people who know virtually nothing beyond their own profits. And our system has no way of punishing the unscrupulous contractor who causes great misery to one and all through his greed for profits. Many years ago, we had mooted the idea of the PWD proclaiming the me of the contractor responsible for every stretch of our highways built by announcing his me for the stretch of the highway constructed. This has not been done. Once this is done, contractors will be far more accountable to the people than they are today.
The State of our Highways