DIMAPUR, MARCH 16: The “deplorable condition” of National Highway 2 connecting Kohima and Imphal has once again drawn the ire of the Court as the Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court on Wednesday directed the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) to start maintenance works and construction of the road and Nagaland Government to resolve land acquisition issues within 4 weeks.
Hearing a suo moto PIL, the Bench of Justices Songkhupchung Serto and Devashis Baruah listed the matter to be heard again on March 24 and directed the NHIDCL to furnish copies of the DPR, the Contract Agreement and the correspondences between NHIDCL and State authorities on that day.
They also ordered the General Manager of NHIDCL, Jakhama, to come with a report on the progress of the maintenance work and construction of the existing road.
“After hearing the learned Counsels for the parties, it has come to light that not much progress has been made towards acquisition of the lands that are required for up-gradation of the existing road. If one has to wait in resolving all the issues regarding this, the working season for this year will be over and the people would have to suffer another year”, stated the order.
“Taking into consideration the deplorable condition of the road and the coming monsoon, we direct the NHIDCL and the Contractor to start the maintenance work of the road as per clause 10.4 of the Contract Agreement and follow it up with the construction of the existing road immediately. In case the maintenance work is not taken up, NHIDCL shall resort to the Clause 10.4 (II) of the Contract Agreement”, it added.
At the first hearing of the case held on March 2, the Court had observed that while travelling on NH 2 between Kohima and Imphal “one wonders as to whether this is a real National Highway which is also suppose to be Trans Asia Highway connecting India with other South Asian countries as envisaged in the Look East Policy, which has been renamed as Act East Policy”.
“This Highway is meant to play an important role when it comes to connectivity and trade and commerce not only for this part of the country but for the whole country. But nothing much has happened on this Highway except the ongoing 4-lane construction between Dimapur and Kohima and repairing of the existing 2-lane on Manipur side though 15 to 20 years have passed by since the policy was announced.
“In fact, between Kohima to Mao i.e. Manipur border town, the condition of the Highway has gone from bad to worse; therefore, commuters have to literally negotiate between potholes which are big and deep making it very difficult to travel. For the last 6 years, this stretch of the highway has not been maintained and in fact nothing much has been done to make it even travel-worthy. It looks like as if there is nobody responsible for it. It cannot be worse than this. As such, unless it is immediately repaired, before the coming monsoon, the only Highway that connects 5 to 6 million people of the States of Manipur and Nagaland and the so-called National Highway/Trans Asia Highway will have to be closed due to its deplorable condition”, it had stated then.
(Page News Service)