GUWAHATI: The Gauhati High Court has registered a suo moto case (PIL/1/2023) against the abysmal delay in the construction of the Haflong-Silchar stretch of the National Highway-54 via Haragajao and its plight. The High Court has issued notices to the Central Government, the Assam Government, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and the North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council (NCHAC).
This stretch of the National Highway has two packages – Harangajao-Nirimbanglo and Balachera -Harangajao. It is a part of the 3,300-km East-West Corridor from Surat to Silchar. The entire stretch of the Corridor in Assam is around 621 km. The work on the Corridor started in 2004.
The bench of Chief Justice RM Chhaya and Justice Suman Shyam of the High Court asked the four respondents why the work of the Haflong-Silchar stretch of the Corridor is taking so much time. The High Court has also asked the respondents to reply by February 15, 2023.
The High Court took suo moto cognizance of a complaint lodged by a person against the plight of the road. The complainant also sought the High Court's intervention in the matter.
NHAI sources said that they awarded the work of the Harangajao-Nirimbanglo package of the road to a construction company. The company has not yet started the work on this package. Work on the Balacherra-Harangajao package of the road is going on. Around 53 per cent of the work of this package is over. The scheduled date of completion of this package is April 2023.
According to sources, multiple factors are responsible for the delay of the 75-km stretch of the Corridor. Hiccups relating to forest clearance and landslides in the hilly terrains also added to the delay. Law-and-order situation was one of the reasons behind the delay, sometimes back. NHAI sources said that now they are using Japanese technology.
The local public lodged complaints with the Centre, NHAI and the State government several times but to no avail. The existing road becomes accident-prone during the rainy season because of landslides.