Vital road to get NH status

Mokokchung, Aug. 27: The National Highway Authority of India has big plans to develop National Highway 702-D, connecting Assam with Mokokchung district in Nagaland.

By Pullock dutta in Mokokchung
  • Published 28.08.15
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A stretch of NH 702D. Picture by Limalenden Longkumer

Mokokchung, Aug. 27: The National Highway Authority of India has big plans to develop National Highway 702-D, connecting Assam with Mokokchung district in Nagaland.

This will not only ensure swift movement of troops to the Indo-Myanmar border but also help better connectivity for the people of at least four districts of state.

Going by the importance of the 85km road, connecting Mariani in Jorhat district of Assam with Mokokchung in Nagaland, the ministry of road transport and highways notified it a national highway in May last year. Hitherto, the road was under Project Sewak of the Border Road Organisation (BRO), raised in 1961 primarily for the development of roads in Naga hills and Tuensang areas.

Executive engineer of Mokokchung division of the national highway Chubatoshi told The Telegraph that the road has not yet been handed over to the national highway authorities by the BRO but as soon as the formalities for handing over were over, they "will plan big to develop the highway".

Chubatoshi said the particular road is not only a lifeline for the people of at least four districts of Nagaland - Mokokchung, Zunheboto, Tuengsang and Kiphire - but is also strategically important as it leads to the Myanmar border.

He said plans would be made to develop the road into a two-lane highway. "In the beginning we would carry out renovation on particular stretches but in future we have plans to develop it into a two-lane highway," he said.

An Assam Rifles official engaged in counter-insurgency operations in Nagaland said the particular road is very vital for the movement of troops since it connects to Noklak in Tuengsang district, which is very close to Myanmar.

"It is connectivity that hampers movement of troops in this part of the world and if we have to have proper surveillance along the Indo-Myanmar border we need to have better roads leading to these areas," he said.

Mokokchung Chamber of Commerce president Moasangba Jamir said since the bulk of the essential commodities to the three districts of Nagaland were ferried from the wholesale market in Jorhat, the road is the lifeline for the people of the three districts.

"The nearest airport and the railway station are also located in Jorhat and as such the road is very important for us. Business with Assam will increase with a better road," he said.

An official of the Hill Area Truckers Association said the condition of the particular road is deplorable most of the time and truckers find it very difficult to ferry goods on the road. "We are happy now that the particular road has been taken over by the national highway authorities. It is time the road is developed into a major highway," he said.

He said although the distance between Mariani and Mokokchng is about 85km, it takes nearly five hours for a truck to reach Mokokchung from Mariani. There are also instances of truckers refusing to ply their vehicles on the particular road in protest against bad road conditions.

Tamgsu Wati Ao, a district administration official, said there has been a longstanding demand to name the particular road a national highway and the people of the three districts of Nagaland would remain grateful to the government of India for giving a national highway status to the road.