By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, August 24: The Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) had to block a number of tiol highways in the lengtah and breadth of the State today so as to draw the attention of the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to the plight of tiol highways in Assam. The NH blockade started at 11 am and continued till 12 noon.
The responsibility of upkeep of tiol highway was taken up by the Central Government’s tiol Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation on March 31 this year. The State government handed over stretches of tiol Highways No 37, 37A, 52 and 53 to the tiol Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) as per policy decision of the Union ministry. "However, the corporation has neither taken up construction activities nor undertaken maintence work, leaving the State in the lurch. It appears to be a conspiracy of the Central government,” APCC president Anjan Dutta was on record saying said.
The APCC blocked NHs at Oriyagaon in gaon, Kaliabor Tiniali, Jorhat Bypass, Teok, Janji, Sivasagar Bypass, Dimow, Moran, Chabua, Tinsukia, Bandardewa, Laluk, Ramgar in Silchar, Panchgram, Badarpur, Manja, Mandangdisa, Harengajao, Bhakatgaon, etc. APCC president Anjan Dutta was at Ramgar in Silchar today. He was accompanied by Silchar MP Sushmita Dev and Parliamentary Secretary Rekibuddin Ahmed.
The APCC said that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had shot off a letter to the Union Minister for road transport, highways and shipping Nitin Gadkari asking him to either take steps to undertake construction and repair of tiol highways in the state or hand over the responsibility to the state PWD for their maintence, but to little avail.
The blockade programme made the people of the State suffer. The APCC tender an apology to the people of the State for the problem they had to face today due to the blockade.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, talking to reporters here, said the maintence of NHs was earlier done by state PWD, but the Centre had recently revised it and taken over the maintence of these roads through the newly-formed tiol Highway Infrastructure and Development Corporation Ltd.
“The Centre took away the road repairing work from the state government and failed to repair them. Now the roads are in deplorable condition and the people are blaming us,” he said. He also said the state government has twice taken up the matter with Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, but to little avail.
Gogoi also alleged that the Ministry has inflated project costs in the state by clubbing together smaller projects and as a result local contractors are being deprived of chance to even bid for the projects. The CM demanded immediate repair and proper maintence of the NHs sking across the state.