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Highway horrors: PIL filed in Gauhati High Court

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  22 May 2016 12:00 AM GMT


GUWAHATI, May 21: The very term ‘tiol Highway’ brings to our mind, the vision of a broad well maintained road, with vehicles zipping past at high speeds. However, visit Barak Valley in Assam and the same term attains an altogether different meaning.

There has been no improvement in the condition of roads on a 150 km stretch on tiol Highway between Malidhor in Assam and Churaibari in Tripura ever since Independence.

The road has virtually turned into a paddy field following incessant rains and administrative neglect.

Despite repeated requests from the Government of Tripura to their Assam counterpart, as also to the tiol Highways Authority of India, the situation remains unchanged.

The average number of vehicles plying per day over these Highways is around 6,500 vehicles (out of which 4,000 are Heavy Vehicles) that carry both men and goods. The disruption in their movement even for a day has its effect on normal life and economy of the regions. Quite surprisingly, though the road in question stands in stagtion since 2010, no effective steps have been taken by the PWD (NH) Division which now maintains the highways.

This stretch of road may be called the lifeline of the three Barak Valley Districts of Assam viz Hailakandi, Karimganj, and Cachar in addition to Tripura, Mizoram, and a large chunk of Manipur.

The movement of vehicular traffic is hazardous with enormous potholes, craters, ditches and pools. This particular stretch of the tiol Highway has been in the grip of frequent mishaps and traffic congestion. In the event of light downpours, the highway remains blocked for days paralysing the day to day life and communication of the entire region.

The Highway has been witnessing most unfortute incidents like the pregnt mothers delivering babies on the road, patients dying on the way to hospital. Price rise of essential commodities and abnormal fall of attendance in the educatiol institutions have caused great damage.

The people of Barak Valley and civil society organisations have exhausted all means of democratic protests in the last five years and had urged both the State and the Centre to take steps to improve the road, starting from protest and mass movement, dhars, hunger strikes, giving memos / ultimatums to all concerned, raising questions in Assembly and Parliament. But all pleas fell on deaf ears.

Realizing that court’s intervention could perhaps bring a positive change, A PIL (37/2016 ) was filed in Gauhati High Court, for appropriate relief, by Adv A K Talukdar and Adv A S Tapader, seeking that the Government be directed to improve the condition of roads and take action against the people responsible for its pitiable condition. The PIL also demanded the start of the repair work immediately; to set up a high level inquiry to detect the culprits liable for the mess; and to take appropriate pel action by initiating appropriate crimil proceedings to prevent recurrence of such a situation again. The Court has instructed the Standing Councils to file affidavit within three weeks.

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