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A Breather… But For How Long?

(Left) Man made spring courtesy of PHED department! A woman is seen collecting water at the side of the road at Razhu point, Kohima. (Right) Pipe leakage at Oking Hospital stretch.
An article was published on the 29th November 2011 in the Eastern Mirror and Morung Express daily-“A BREATHER AT LAST” by one Mr. Aziebu Shaiza. In one of the paragraphs he writes, ‘I just wish the drains alongside will be properly laid down and repaired so that the roads do not fall into disrepair when the torrential rain soaks Kohima again. As for certain sections, I wish the PHE Department will do its share by laying the pipes in a more organized and tidy manner to compliment the work done and to see that underlying pipes do not seep and damage the road again.‘
A lot of people have appreciated the recently completed road construction (NH-61 0km to 6km): the way it has been carried out, the quality, workmanship, speed etc. They have also appreciated the Govt’, the Department concerned, the Dist. Administration and the Contractor for playing their parts, not forgetting the police for their traffic management. Now the question is how long before the road goes back to its previous pathetic condition with the leaking of pipes underneath the newly made road surface, the digging ups, the blockades in the deplorable drainage systems causing stagnation, the laying of cables etc, etc. How long before the ‘BLAME GAME’ begins again? How long before another article in the papers saying, “Now that appreciations are over, why not start the criticism?”
At the stretch between Razhü Point and the road leading up to Choto Bosti, the public can see for themselves how PHE Department made ‘springs’ oozing out from beneath blacktopped surface looks like. This happens occasionally at two or three spots in the morning any time between 6am and 8am. You can actually see people collecting water with their buckets and mugs from the dug up spots on this stretch, since obviously; it’s not reaching their homes! The same is happening opposite the CANNSEA office, Sepfuzou. Also wet patches are visible on the Oking Hospital to TCP Gate stretch due to the water seepages from the leaking pipes. Had the PHE Department taken the notice from the PWD (NH) seriously one month before the road constructions began and put into action a plan to solve the problem, this could have been avoided. In the end it’s the public who suffer.  Take for example the residents of Midland colony whose pipelines (an inch or two below the road surface) run across the road on the O King Hospital stretch. They have been facing the same problem year after year. Every now and then their water supply is cut off since their pipelines are damaged or cut off due to heavy vehicles running over them. They end up repairing the pipes themselves at night since it’s not possible during the day time due to heavy traffic. In most cases they have to dig up the road to a certain extent and bury the pipes again once it’s repaired, which in turn damages the road. When asked about the water problems and what could be done about it, one Midland resident suggested it would be so much easier, and all problems of seepages, leakages, broken damaged pipes that the hundreds of pipelines going across the road on the Oking Hospital stretch causes, could be avoided if only they had the water tank on the other side of the road! The PHE Department seems to have been asleep for god only knows how many years.
We often take the example of different states or even countries, saying if they can make good roads in similar or harder conditions than ours, why can’t we? Well, I guess for one, their public is more far sighted and have a better civic sense. For example (one of many) we see how people have already started dumping all their building materials on the newly blacktopped road. They are, in addition, finely organized and well planned than us and they definitely don’t have pipes bursting from beneath their roads, not to mention digging of roads right after they are completed for pipe or cable laying and repairing! But seriously, it is because they work with commitment and sincerity, COLLABORATING with the other units that make up the Government, as they are held accountable for anything less than what is demanded from them by the public.
Someone from the PWD Department had said (before this road construction i.e. NH-61 0km to 6km began) that this particular stretch of road has always been a failure. I guess it makes sense now, seeing the beginnings of its deterioration (courtesy the leaking pipelines). This stretch of road is possibly the most important stretch in our capital, yet it is sad to see this appalling picture of apathy. Sadder even to know that nothing is being done about it. The saddest part is that it is a reflection of the way ‘we’- the public, allow things to be run.
Anga & Gingo
D’ Block, Kohima town