Roads of Perdition

Roads of Perdition
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Dimapur, July 14: The road between commercial hub Dimapur and food bowl Jalukie valley is a mere 40km but seems light years away. As fruit and vegetable sellers from Jalukie take forever to reach the markets of Dimapur this season, many are questioning successive Governments on the neglect of the state’s granary.
“We take over two hours which should actually take just one hour to reach Dimapur. The road is slushy, even dangerous, and should have been constructed years ago,” says a farmer from Jalukie.
“The road from Jharnapani to Jalukie is being constructed for over a decade and yet Government has not been able to complete even 35km,” says the shocked citizen.
Going by a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report of 2015, Nagaland spent Rs 544.34 crore on roads and bridges out of the budgeted Rs559 cr. “Where did the money go?” asked the farmer.
Ironically, former Chief Minister TR Zeliang belongs to Peren district but neither as an MP nor as Chief Minister could he complete any task on roads construction and infrastructure development. Some projects for Peren districts including one at Sanzuiram village were allegedly diverted by the Neiphiu Rio Government.
“That is a legitimate grouse, but what are we going to do with a project or a building if we are not able to reach it. We need roads,” said a student from Jalukie town.
Peren district is the closest to Dimapur yet connectivity to this beautiful and productive region is arduous. The potential of Peren and Jalukie as tourism hotspots and agricultural hubs have been neglected by the Government, complain locals.
“Villages like Benreu are frequented by foreign tourists in December but connectivity hampers developing this area,” says a former Government servant.
Strategically for Nagas, connectivity between Nagaland and Manipur could be easiest through Peren, as the road leads straight to Maram. Yet, highway construction progresses at snail’s pace and people in remote areas like Tenning take a whole day to reach even their district headquarters.
Such inaccessibility though is not Peren district’s woes alone, as several other districts face similar problems. (Page News Service)