| A truck stuck in the 12ft ditch on National Highway 80 near Ghoshpur in Sabour. Picture by Amit Kumar |
The intensity of damage caused by floods on different stretches of National Highway 80 has begun to surface with water beginning to recede.
On Sunday, six teams of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Bhagalpur division, conducted a survey from Ghorghat to Mirjachouki to assess the damage.
Over 16km of the national highway was found damaged at several places, especially east and west of Bhagalpur. In Bhagalpur and Munger districts, floodwater began receding from Thursday.
Officials had claimed traffic movement on the NH-80 would resume by Monday, but that has not been possible. Vehicular traffic on the NH-80 has been hit for at least a month now.
In Ghoshpur (Sabour), around 10km east of Bhagalpur, a stretch of the highway, over 300ft long, got washed away. A source at NHAI, Bhagalpur division, said it was near Ghoshpur. The floodwater also created a 12-foot ditch on the road.
The 12-km Sabour-Ghogha stretch, too, is damaged at several places, complete with ditches.
To the west of Bhagalpur, the floodwater washed away several portions of the NH-80 at Akbarnagar and Sultanganj and 4-5 feet near Bhabnathpur under Nathnagar block.
The NHAI source said repair work on these stretches would take time, as the floodwater has still not receded from the ditches.
Office-goers are inconvenienced even more now — many pointed out that the 110km stretch from Ghorghat on the Munger-Bhagalpur border to Mirjachouki was in bad shape and undergoing repairs before the floods too.
Bhagalpur resident Jayjeet Ghosh said: “The flood has given officials concerned a golden chance to hide their incapability. The floods may have damaged some parts of the national highway though.”
Bhagalpur resident Subir Sengupta, who used to ride a motorbike to his office in Kahalgaon, said: “I have no option than to take the train now. That means I have to walk a lot more these days. It’s not possible to go to work on the motorcycle any more.”
Minhaj Alam, divisional commissioner, Bhagalpur, said repair works to restore traffic on the NH-80 would start soon. “It’s our top priority to restore traffic on the national highway. Not only in Bhagalpur but also in Munger, I have instructed officials concerned, including district magistrates, to take appropriate measures to repair the highways,” he said.
Lal Mohan Prajapati, executive engineer, NHAI, Bhagalpur division, said the survey to assess the damage to the NH-80 was completed on Sunday and the report submitted to Bhagalpur district magistrate and state headquarters of NHAI on Monday. Prajapati assured that repair work would start after directions from the state headquarters.
The construction companies assigned to repair the NH-80 from May 2013 are also waiting for fresh work orders.
“If we get the work order now, it will take time to complete the work. The situation of the national highway near Ghoshpur in Sabour is the worst. First, we have to cover the ditch, only then construction can start,” said Pawan Kumar of Baba Construction, which got the deal to repair the road in May.