In 2022-23, 463 km of state NHs damaged
GUWAHATI: Questions are being raised regarding the condition of the National Highways in the state, the quality of their construction, and whether they are also to blame for the recent deadly road accidents, including the one at Dergaon?
The recent fatal road accident near Dergaon in Upper Assam claimed the lives of 12 people on the way to a picnic. Vehicular movement is already suffering due to the slow pace of construction of the four-lane national highway, mainly in Upper Assam.
In this backdrop, a statistic has emerged about the length of damaged NHs in Assam, which is among the worst states in terms of the condition of NHs in the years 2022–23. In 2022-23, the total length of damaged NHs in the state was 463 km.
The data places Assam third from the bottom in terms of having the worst NHs. The other two states with longer stretches of damaged NHs are Maharashtra with 785 km and Uttarakhand with 601 km. Among the states in the NE with such damaged stretches, Arunachal has 102 km, Manipur has 14 km, Meghalaya has 148 km, Mizoram has 42 km, Nagaland has 29 km, Sikkim has 21 km, and Tripura has 34 km of bad roads among the NHs in 2022-23.
The history of damaged NHs in Assam goes back a long time. In the year 2021–22, the length of damaged NHs in the state was 278 km; in 2020–21, the length was 229 km; in 2019–20, it was 351 km; and in 2018–19, there was a total of 75 km of damaged NHs.
The very pertinent question is: whether the condition of the NHs contributes to the frequent and deadly accidents that happen regularly. The other important question is regarding the reasons behind the damage in NHs and the tardy pace of repair.
The total length of national highways in Assam is 3889.44 km. Out of these, a total length of 1906.612 km is entrusted to Assam PWD (NH Wing), 1173.42 km is entrusted to NHIDCL, 667.00 km is entrusted to NHAI, and 32.771 km is entrusted to the care of the Border Road Organization.
A positive and responsible attitude is expected from the agencies responsible for the construction and maintenance of the national highways in Assam.