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Assembly discusses 4 lane road construction between Patkai Bridge-Kukidolong

Nagaland News

Kohima, February 16: The Nagaland Assembly today deliberated on road condition between Patkai Bridge and Kukidolong along the ongoing four lane National Highway construction from Dimapur to Kohima and urgent requirement of an alternative route to cover the said portion of the road.

MLA Imkong L. Imchen raised the concern as matter of urgent public importance under Rule- 50 and also initiated the discussion while expressing concern over this stretch of the road.

He raised concern on the Pagla Pahar saying that landslide and rockslides during the road cutting period has caused human casualties and damaged vehicles. 

Dimapur is the commercial tribunal and Kohima the political tribunal of the State and so cannot be cut from each other but coexist, he said, adding that when the road closed for the Traffic during maintenance and construction period there should be proper arrangement of alternative route. 

Imchen queried whether the state or central government or the company would take care of the compensation for the damage of vehicles and also what about the economic losses caused to the people and the State?

With the current effort for completion of road would be difficult with summer rains which would follow soon and there will be more land, rock and mud sliding on the route, he said, adding that even the present alternative route from notified by DC Dimapur would be difficult as there is a river which would be over-flooding during summer.

“There should have been proper alternative route or within the existing route there should have not been disturbance for two lane traffic,” he said. 

On the quality of road as per the DPR specifications by the contractors, Imchen sarcastically said there is a quality control board under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister in the State, and they may doing over time works yet the quality is still going down. 

As the song goes “Still it was in time” but our road construction cannot be in time, he said the Pagla pahar issues is only a tip of the iceberg. Saying that the Pagla Pahar problem is surely making the people “pagla” (mad), Imchen hoped the whole state is not going ‘pagla’ with the road conditions around. 

Opposition leader T.R. Zeliang and MLA Y. Vikheho Swu also expressed that safety of the commuters be look into account.

Advisor for National Highways, Dr Longrineken said that construction of the 4 lane from Patkai Bridge to Kukidolong (under package-1 of Dimapur to Kohima-4lane project) is located at the critical steep terrain having pockets of sedimentary strata in the hard rock bed.

He said that as per design and approved alignment, the contractor(s) are to cu another 15m to 20m wide towards the hill side at the height of 100m or more in several locations to get complete formation width of 4lane.

However, excavation of hillside containing sedimentary rock and hard rocks with heavy machineries in such steep areas is next to impossible unless explosives materials are being used.

Therefore, the Contractor(s) M/S Ramky-ECI (JV) have been using explosives to blast those rocky areas for the last several months with blockage of traffic on weekends but it could not be completed till today.

As of today, about 1.4 km of earthwork are yet to be done in this 5km stretch.

On 10 February 2021, Longriniken along with PWD(NH) officials have inspected the Pagla Pahar construction site particularly the location where recent rockslides had damaged four light vehicles on 2nd February 2021.

The location is at design chainage 127.20 km to 127.200 km having 180m stretch and 80m height cutting where the clearance of overhanging rocks, excavation and bomb blasting are currently going on.

He also had interaction with the General Manager of ECI at the site and the latter stated that clearance of the stretch (180m) will take at least two weeks.

He said the 5km of Pagla Pahar stretch is vulnerable to rockslides and landslides due to its steep terrain, “so we all have concern not only for completion of work but safety measures of commuters which should to be taken care of during the construction.”

Therefore, during my visit the contractor has been cautioned and advised to clear all overhanging rocks before further excavation or blasting taking place this particular area, Dr. Longriniken said.

He has also been advised to provide bench cutting wherever necessary and steel wire net with nailing to protect further rockslides after completion.

He said the recent frequent road blockage at Pagla Pahar has been affecting both commuters and transportation of essential commodities, fuel etc, not only Nagaland but also Manipur.

“And there is apprehension that road blockage in this particular stretch may occur at any time even before or after completion of road. In this regard, an alternative road other than the present road via Tenyiphe – Pimla-Jalukie – Henikungla-Jornapani is urgently needed as the present road takes more travel time and also trucks/tankers cannot ply,” Dr. Longriniken said.

In this connection, an emergency meeting was held with the Officials of Works & Housing on 11.02.2021 under the leadership of deputy chief minister Neiphiu Rio at his official residence and an alternative route between Dimapur & Jornapani has been located between Koponallah and Heninkungla and the Team comprising of Dy.CM, Advisor (NH), Advisor (CAWD), Engineer in (NPWD), Chief Engineer(NH), and Addl. Chief Engineer(Urban) have visited the road on 13th  February’2021.

“This alternative road having 18.5km is constructed by Urban Dept in 2010 and it will shorten the present route via Tenyiphe- Pimla-Jalukie & Heninkungla by 18km. Maintenance of this alternative road has already been started and is expected to be made pliable before monsoon,” he said.

On the same day, the Team also visited the construction works at Pagla Bahar and interacted with NHIDCL officials & contractors.

“Once the proposed alternative road is maintained, it can be made all weather road and used by light, medium vehicles, tankers and trucks with permissible load,” Dr. Longriniken said.

Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton giving the concluding remarks appreciated the concern of the members on the said road condition.

He informed the House that NHIDCL has imposed penalty on the contractors for delay in completion while it is also seriously observing the progress of the works. 

He said though NHIDCL has issued notice for interest of termination of works, but keeping in view of the ongoing working season the termination was not advisable. 

On the opposition demand for maintenance of the Shukhovi to Jhornapani road, he said it is hampered during the closure of the Patkai-Kukidolong road. Nonetheless, he also supplemented Dr Longri saying that the new alternative route would be shorter by by 18 kms. 

On Opposition Leader demand for maintenance of Sainik School to Jhornapani road, he said maintenance works has been sanctioned for Sainik School to Medzhipohema and not Sainik School- Jhornapani.

On the Pagla Pahar route relaxation twice a day from 6AM to 10AM and 2PM to 6PM, he said contractors are asking for opening it only once for all types of vehicles as the poresent arrangement is disturbing the works. He said the matter would be reviewed after a week. 

On MLA Vikheho Swu demand for construction of Niuland to Zhadima road, Patton said department had discussed with administration and is taking up the matter but because of few landowners having rubber plantation on the route are demanding very rate of compensation. The negotiation to resolve the compensation rate is in progress, added Patton.   (Page News Service)