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Senior Citizens Call For NH-53 Development

IMPHAL, Oct 14: The Senior Citizens for Society (SCS) Manipur has urged the authorities concerned to develop ImphalJiribam section of NH-53 to the standard of a National Highway without any further delay.

Speaking to media persons at Nagamapal here this afternoon, SCS president N Binoy noted that the larger section (225 Kms) of NH-53 which connects Manipur with other States of India runs through the territory of Manipur.

Though the condition of the highway is extremely bad, there are fewer cases of extortion, robbery, assault on drivers, burning vehicles and murders on this route.

On the other hand, it is shameful to call NH-39 (Imphal-Dimapur highway) a lifeline of Manipur in view of the frequent blockades and bandhs imposed on the highway.

Rather, NH-39 has become a matter of shame considering the repeated cases of extortion, robbery, assault, murder on this route in the past many years.

‘However, this does not mean that we should abandon NH-39 but there is no guarantee that the unwanted incidents would not be repeated’, Binoy said.

Above these, it is everybody’s knowledge that the highway passes through Nagaland for a very long stretch whose State Assembly has resolved thrice to disintegrate Manipur for expansion of Nagaland’s territory.

SCS general secretary Prof L Sadananda, supporting the president’s observation, said that noted that the prolonged blockades called by some Naga bodies in 2005 and this year again have taught the Manipuris a very valuable lesson.

It is the duty of the Central Government to maintain and protect national highways and the State Government should extend all possible cooperation to the Central Government. The Society has nothing to comment on the controversy over keeping NH 53 under BRO or pass the responsibility to the State PWD.

‘We do not expect that BRO would work in the same manner as the State PWD under which roads were developed/repaired only to last less than six months’, Sadananda remarked. Nevertheless, the people need to keep a strict vigilance on the way NH 53 is being developed.

On the other hand, Old Cachar Road (Tongjei Maril) which is just about 150 Kms long can be a viable, alternative lifeline    provided it is properly developed. He said that they have information about the DoNER Ministry setting aside requisite fund for developing the road. SCS secretary Khaidem Mani lauded the efforts of the Transporters’ and Drivers’ Council to repair NH 53 at their own expense. But their efforts would not be enough. It demands a collective effort by all sections of the society, he added.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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