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Word on road repair

Siliguri, Sept. 28: The National Highways Authority of India today promised minister Gautam Deb that NH31D, the worst road in north Bengal, would be repaired before Durga Puja as he sat on a dharna here with Trinamul Congress supporters to protest the bad condition of major routes in the region.

The minister and hundreds of Trinamul members took out a procession to the NHAI office here this morning and sat on the dharna around 10am.

“Our party (Trinamul) has time and again taken up the issue of the pathetic condition of NH31D before the NHAI authorities. Even the chief minister had expressed anguish over the delay by the NHAI to repair the roads during her trips to north Bengal. As the NHAI has taken no steps, we are forced to sit on a dharna,” the minister told the gathering.

He and a handful of Trinamul leaders sat on the dharna on a stage erected near the NHAI office. As the demonstration continued, a few NHAI officials came near the dais and invited the minister and some leaders to the office.

“We wanted to apprise him of the state of affairs and clarify that the NHAI is not sitting idle and is working for the repair and the widening of NH31D,” said an official.

As Deb went inside the office, R K Chaudhry, the project director of the NHAI’s Siliguri office, handed him the status report on the repair of NH31D.

“We have already completed the restoration of some stretches of the highway. Contractors carrying out the work have been asked to finish the repair by October 20, that is, ahead of Durga Puja,” the project director told Deb.

The dharna was lifted as Deb came out of the office and announced the NHAI’s assurance. “If the repair is further delayed, we will resume the movement,” he said.