BISWANATH CHARIALI, March 19 – The people of entire Sonitpur district are suffering a lot due to the dilapidated condition of the National Highway 52 passing through the district from Dhekiajuli to Hawajan.
The said highway is the one and only road that connects the northern part of the State and Arunachal Pradesh with the rest of the country. It is the only way, too, to reach the vital Indo-China border. The highway has become full of potholes in most of the portions and the old bridges over the major rivers have long outlived their utility. They need to be repaired before the rainy season starts, but the Assam Public Works Department (APWD) has not taken any concrete step yet for for the same. Ironically, the department had filled up the potholes here and there two months back, but it the act became meaningless within a week.
It is alleged that APWD has been spending crores of rupees from time to time in the name of repairing this highway, but the concerned officials have little time to supervise the contractors’ works which are very poor. As a result, the road becomes dilapidated very soon because the requisite norms to repair a highway are hardly fulfilled.
Nowadays one takes twice as much time to complete the journey from one place to another along the NH 52. The vehicles also require overhauling very often because of the poor road condition.
The maintenance of the NH 52 was handed over to Border Roads Organisation (BRO) a few years back citing its importance in the context of tension along the Indo-China border, but they could not maintain it properly and it was given back again to the APWD during the first term of the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government. Serious anomalies were alleged against the Central Government agency (BRO) too, for its type of work. On the other hand, some of the bridges constructed by the BRO, were very defective. The bridge over the Salengi river near Gohpur is a good example of this. A good number of people have lost their lives so far in accidents over the bridge due to its defective construction.
Just after the take-over by APWD, the Biswanath Chariali-Rowta portion was allotted to Nahata Construction of Nagaon for repairing but the company exhibited such poor workmanship that the road crumbled within six months and the people’s woe began. The pathetic condition of the highway from Baihata Chariali to Jonai has led to several road accidents in the recent years in which a lot of people have either died or become physically handicapped apart from causing huge damages to their properties. The people of northern Assam have raised their voice to construct the backbone of their day-to-day life, the NH 52 in a scientific way so that it lasts long as the railway line is out of order these days.