Dispur blames Centre for NHIDCL's iction
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Aug 18: With some sections of the stretch of tiol highway between gaon and Dibrugarh a nightmare for travelers, Dispur is now pointing an accusing finger at the Central government. At the centre of controversy is the tiol Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) for its total neglect and inertia in maintaining this important stretch of the highway.
Constituted by the rendra Modi government in 2014, the NHIDCL had received charge of maintaining this stretch from the State Public Works department on March 31 this year. As a fully owned company of the Union ministry of Road Transport & Highways, the NHIDCL promotes, surveys, establishes, designs, builds, operates, maintains and upgrades tiol highways and strategically important roads.
However, as far as the gaon-Dibrugarh stretch of NH-37 is concerned, the NHIDCL has totally failed in discharging its mandated duty, alleges the State government. This stretch has been deteriorating over the last few months, and is so full of potholes that driving over it is an ordeal. “This stretch had to be handed over to the NHIDCL by the Assam government, after which it has no authority over it. I have taken up the issue of its poor condition twice with Union Road Transport & Highways minister Nitin Gadkari, but nothing has materialised so far,” rued State PWD minister Ajanta Neog.
Before the NHIDCL received charge of this NH stretch, a meeting was held at Jorhat in February last in which Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and PWD minister Ajanta Neog were present along with the NHIDCL general mager. “The NHIDCL GM had assured in that meeting that the company will properly maintain the NH stretch after receiving charge of it. However, nothing came of that promise,” Neog said.
Pointing out that the tiol highways (NH) wing of Assam PWD earlier maintained this road, Neog also criticized the Central government for cutting off a large part of funds required by this wing in the current fincial year.
The NH stretch from gaon to Dibrugarh runs alongside the Kaziranga tiol Park (KNP) presently. It has been planned that heavy vehicular movement will be diverted from Koliabor to Tezpur along a bridge over the Brahmaputra, then on to Gohpur and again along a second bridge over Brahmaputra to Numaligarh — thereby entirely bypassing the eco-sensitive zone around KNP. This new stretch of the highway will be four-lane, but the NHIDCL in charge of its construction, has not even got around to begin prelimiry works.
Till this four-lane section of NH-37 is completed and opened to the public, the only traffic possible is along the existing stretch straight from gaon to Dibrugarh. But with the NHIDCL totally neglecting its upkeep and maintence, travelers and commuters are having nightmarish times in negotiating the bumpy sections of this NH stretch through middle Assam to upper Assam. During the just-concluded Assembly session, former Chief Minister and Barhampur MLA Prafulla Kumar Mahanta raised the issue of this tiol highway’s condition in the House.