Kohima, June 25: The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) today promised better roads between Dimapur and Kohima by March 2015 but sought co-operation from the people.
In a rebuttal to harsh criticism from several quarters, including the state government, BRO official Col S. Yadav, junior commander of 15 BRTF, promised to complete the repairs on National Highway 29 connecting Dimapur and Kohima, which is now in a deplorable condition. BRTF is a wing of the BRO headed by a colonel or superintendent engineer.
We will not react to anyone but will show by action, said the BRO commander. He said by March 2015, the state would have better roads between Dimapur and Kohima.
Col Yadav said they have been on the firing line of the people not understanding the constraints faced by the BRO while maintaining NH 29 and other roads in the state. I have already met the chief minister and explained to him about our difficulties, he said.
Of late, there has been severe criticism about the workmanship of the BRO in the state but the organisation has remained silent. Apart from NH 29, the BRO has few roads in the state but all of them are in a deplorable condition. Some have demanded the BRO roads to be handed over to the state government but there have been mixed reactions to this proposal.
National Highway 29 had been converted into a four-lane road but because of land acquisition problems, the project could not take off properly.
In 2003, the then NDA government had sanctioned Rs 400 crore for the project and again in 2013 the Centre had sanctioned over Rs 1,000 crore.
The highway is mostly affected by random cutting of roads, stone quarrying and car servicing centres that choke the drainage system between Dimapur and Kohima. Cutting of roads on NH 29 without a proper drainage system has been badly affecting the highway but the state government has not taken any step to stop such illegal activities.
The BRO officials have already reminded the state government about illegal cutting and construction of roads and other illegal activities along the NH 29, which have all fallen on deaf ears.
The highway is also a lifeline for Manipur. The roads in the state are expected to further deteriorate during the monsoons and the prices of essential commodities would escalate. The state government-maintained roads are also in a deplorable condition, despite the PWD having over 5,000 labourers to maintain those.
The Congress said not a single labourer is seen working on the roads and demanded clarification from the department concerned. There are protests going on in Zunheboto town over the bad road conditions.
Former Assembly Speaker Z. Lohe said the road projects could not be completed in the state because of non co-operation from the people and the state government and above all rampant demand of money from several quarters, including militant groups.
Chief minister T.R. Zeliang has urged people to remain calm and assured them that they will have better roads in the coming years as the Centre has again sanctioned more national highways in the state.