Guwahati, Monday, October 14, 2013
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Dilapidated roads snap Mizoram lifeline

 AIZAWL, Oct 13 (IANS): Supply of essential goods in Mizoram has been severely affected since Friday as hundreds of goods-laden vehicles are stranded on the National Highway (NH)-54, the lifeline of the mountainous state, due to severely dilapidated roads, officials said here Sunday.

"About 600 vehicles carrying food grains, oil, cooking gas and other essentials have been stranded for the past few days on NH-54 due to the severely dilapidated road conditions on some stretches of the highway," a food department official told reporters.

"The condition of the national highway between the stretches of Kawnpui and Khamrang in northern Mizoram is worst," the official added.

He said the Mizoram government has asked the concerned contractor and the state Public Works Department (PWD) to repair the road on war footing.

The NH-54 links Mizoram with the rest of the country through Silchar in Assam.

Non-arrival of basic consumer items from outside the state has created severe scarcity of essential commodities, including onion, edible oil, and potato, besides other goods. Prices of construction materials have also soared to double or triple the normal rates.

The main opposition Mizo National Front (MNF) alleged that the civil contractor who built the highway, did not follow the instructions of the engineers of the state PWD while doing maintenance work and had used sub-standard material.

"The Assam-based company, which started the repair works of the national highway in 2009, was schedule to complete it by April 2011. As the owner of the construction company is close to the top leaders of the ruling Congress in Mizoram, it is getting huge undue favour from the state government," a MNF statement said here Sunday.

The MNF has also demanded a high-level probe into the alleged scam of awarding contract to the construction company.

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