Dr. Asangba Tzüdir
In Nagaland, what is statistically classed as a road is hard to be considered a road in reality. Similarly, a road full of potholes cannot be called a road but more appropriately, a stretch of potholes.
While people in the urban areas suffer from the deplorable condition of ‘roads’ filled with potholes, the far rural areas cannot complain about potholes because there is hardly any road in the real sense of the term. Even as the neighbouring villages live ‘separated’ because of poor connectivity, the urban areas especially Dimapur suffering the brunt of urbanisation is going through tough times due to the recent breakdown or collapse of the bridges. And with it, people are forced to stay in their own ‘zone’ with their ‘comforts’ badly deprived. But the positive is that, it became a source of power to assert peoples’ rights collectively.
The different gaps between different communities including knowledge gaps, the rural-urban divide, the economic syndrome has happened because Nagaland has failed to bridge the gaps and mostly because of lack or poor connectivity.
Proper development of roads is the only means of bridging the gap because roads are the living chain and an undeniable source of development towards creating a socio-economic welfare in terms of economic transformation through increased social mobility, booming market, production of consumer goods, reduced poverty which will result in a transformed way of life. But, besides the curtailment of mobility, the condition of the roads has largely hampered the economic and social progress of the state and along, it has only led to further disconnect and isolation among the people.
Not only roads needs to be properly connected by building roads in the real sense of what it means to be a ‘standard road’ but also a new developmental model of road building needs to be charted. That, at the heart of road connectivity lies the urgent need to connect people and to bridge the various gaps between communities.
The colloquium on “Road Connectivity” has offered a platform to assert the right and the need to have good roads in Nagaland. Based on the theme, “together we build,” it should also give a greater sense of responsibility to the invited representatives that, while looking at road connectivity, it becomes imperative to create a process of socio-economic transformation and bridging the various ‘gaps’ between communities. This will inculcate in them, a sense of belongingness in the larger project of inclusive prosperity, progress and development. These are incentives to augment socio-economic development and a sustainable growth.
The Dimapur-Kohima Road Four-Laning, the Foothill Road and also the construction of bridges needs to be given priority at the moment but the status of all the ‘roads’ in Nagaland is such that, prioritisation of some roads will to be a difficult proposition because all over, road repair or road building is an urgent priority.
While Nagaland has all the potentialities of becoming an ‘economic powerhouse,’ the ‘lack’ of proper roads in Nagaland is a real presentation of a major ‘stumbling block’ in her emergence as an economic powerhouse. Unless, Nagaland has proper ‘connecting’ roads, which is a priority today, even the window opening to the South-East Asia will also remain shut.
(Dr. Asangba Tzudir contributes a weekly guest editorial to The Morung Express. Comments can be mailed to email@example.com)