Eastern Mirror Desk
Dimapur, Dec. 3 (EMN): For years citizens have complained about poor workmanship on the rare occasions when roads are constructed in Nagaland. But there are exceptions.
One such case of ‘bucking the trend’ is the Dhobinala-Signal-Thahekhu road in Dimapur. Unlike most roads in the state, this particular road has survived without any facelift for more than a year since it was constructed.
This road is said to be only one constructed using ‘a German technology with an assured life-span of 15 years’. The project that started during the end of 2015, and completed in 2016, is still intact though some parts between the culvert and roads need to be ‘maintained’, according to some residents.
Like any other projects, the Dhobinala-Signal-Thahekhu road construction project was started after a series of agitations and campaigns by the citizens. Seeing the pathetic conditions of said road, a Joint Action Committee (JAC) comprising representatives of villages and colonies located along the stretch was formed to ‘upgrade the deplorable roads left untouched for decades’.
The JAC in August, 2014 began its first phase of agitation even as the when the authorities failed to keep an assurance given to the committee in April, 2014. Since then the committee, along with the affected colonies and few concerned groups, worked together towards having a properly constructed road along the Dhobinal-Signal-Thahekhu stretch.
It was during the fifteen-day media campaign against bad roads, launched on July 8 by Finger Print, a designing and event management, that the state government gave an assurance to construct the deteriorating road along Dhobinala-Signal-Thahekhu stretch soon after 2015-16 budget session.
A resident of the locality expressed apprehension that ‘because of the trucks seen parked along the side of the roads, there are more chances of the road becoming like all the other roads’ in the district. “And because of the parked trucks, the culverts along the roadside are seen below the road level leaving it at risk of eating away the black topped roads,” he said.
The collapse of the bridge at Nagarjan has also directed traffic towards Thahekhu village – the increased traffic risking the assured life span of the road.
According to the convener of the JAC, KK Yepthomi, maintenance of said route is becoming a major problem with so many vehicles passing the road each day.
The JAC members, along with Thahekhu Village Development Board, had recently filled up some potholes at the Dhobinala-Thahekhu road. Residents of some other localities expressed dismay over ‘the regular repair of roads that lasts not more than five to six months’.
INR 45 lakh worth road lasts six months
The trend of ‘lipstick coating’ which has become synonymous with road repair in Dimapur continues even as residents of Signal area Dimapur – beyond the Thahekhu tri-junction – continues to bear the brunt of such poor workmanship.
When the Dhobinalla-Signal-Thahekhu road started off during the end of 2015, residents of this part of Signal area heaved a sigh of relief but only for a moment as the ‘German technology’ did not reach their locality.
However determined to get the basic privileges, a council member told Eastern Mirror, the JAC continued to appeal for road repair in the area. The concern was taken by a certain group (who wished to remain anonymous) which worked out in favour of them. It was disclosed that an amount of INR 50 lakh was sanctioned by the Roads and Bridges department for repairing the stretch from Signal junction to Signal Angami Village gate.
The stretch from Signal junction to Signal Angami Village gate which is only about 50-60 yards was repaired in 2016 but much to the dismay of the residents, the repaired road lasted only for five-six months. The construction cost INR 45 lakh, it was informed.
According to source involved in the project, the road did not last because of poor drainage system. “The drainage system is very poor in our area and when a house owner is not willing to clear their own drains or willing to cooperate by donating a piece of land for construction of drains how can we expect a road to last,” pointed out the source.
The area experience flood even after a light shower, and taking into account the poor workmanship, the source asserted that engineers or service providers should look at things for a long term while executing a work.
“In Nagaland for a road development work, the construction of drains is never included. The root cause for poorly maintained road in Dimapur is because of the poor drainage system making the span of the road less than even a year,” the source asserted.