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People volunteer to repair highway

Islampur, Dec. 18: A group of people today filled a pothole that was the cause of three deaths and 50 injuries in the past one year on NH31 at Islampur’s Milanpalli area, after all their pleas to the authorities for repair fell on deaf ears.

The 11km stretch of NH31 that passes through Islampur has been in a bad state for a year. The Islampur subdivisional officer today said the state government had been prodding the National Highways Authority of India to repair the road.

However, the NHAI is keeping mum and said it had chalked out a plan in 2001 to construct a four-lane bypass to skirt the town but the work couldn’t be launched because of land acquisition problems.

The bypass was planned as the highway couldn’t be converted into a four-lane road in Islampur because of congestion.

Today, around 30 people blocked the highway at Milanpalli, the entry point of Islampur, for two hours from 8am and carried out the repairs with cement, sand and stone chips that they had bought after collecting donations from residents.

“We are fed up with the frequent accidents that take place when vehicles try to avoid the pothole. A youth was crushed to death under a truck in April this year and a mob set on fire six private buses. Two others also died in accidents. Last evening, a youth fell off his motorcycle and was seriously injured. We had collected Rs 3,000 to buy the material for the repairs,” said Madhusudan Das, one of those who took part in the repairs.