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Keeping Highways Open

This year’s floods in Assam have shown us what nature can do to disrupt life almost totally when the monsoon hits the State. We have floods every year, but this year we have seen how the floods can completely disrupt communication at times. This is not something that any civilized society should have to countenance in the 21st century—especially in the context of there being no novelty about the experience that nature subjects us to every year. We have suffered floods for so long that it is imperative for us to find ways of dealing (at least partially) with nature’s yearly wrath during the monsoon months. Since we cannot prevent the floods, the obvious responsibility of the government is to identify the areas where the national highways and the rail links have the greatest threat of being submerged by flood waters. Having done this, the duty of the government is to build flyovers in the areas where the highways are the worst flooded. This is a less expensive course of action than seeking to deal with floods in all locations without any hopes of success. We can emulate what Thailand has done about having highways at two levels for fairly long distances. The highway connecting Bangkok with Pattaya is a raised highway or a flyover for a distance exceeding 50 km. All we need to do is to have our highways raised at those points where the flood waters tend to do the worst damage. This is a solution that does not call for any exceptional intelligence or any unaffordable expenditure. All that is really needed is the willingness to put in some hard work and ingenuity in the cause of the State.

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