Everyone is concern about one’s health but no one seems to care about their prevention. One issue of concern is our horrible dusty roads. It is so unfortunate that even after more than fifty-six years of Statehood with thirteen governments that had ruled such a tiny State with a scanty population yet ninety percent of the villages are without proper roads. This is the iceberg of underdevelopment and the tip of it is the caption in the middle of capital town that reads, “Kohima is the Mirror of Nagaland”. What a tragedy and the mirror say it all as to how developed our State is!
The result of unattended road is dust in the dry season and mud in the rainy season which the people are made to suffer eternally. The other menace is new road constructions. As per DPR for any new construction of roads, a contractor obtains clearance from the Forest and Environment Ministry to ensure that health hazards and environmental damages are prevented. Accordingly during constructions a contractor is to see to it that not only the old road is to be maintained for uninterrupted flow of traffic but also watering has to be done minimum twice a day-morning and afternoon during dry season to control the dust. These are not being done and as a result both travelers and the commuters along the ongoing constructions are made to fend for themselves in the horribly polluted air.
Dust has the potential to kill and can cause threatening disease in the lungs and asthma problems when dusty air is breathed in over a long period of time. We must all rise up to the occasion to prevent further damage to the health of the people. We need development but development cannot be at the cost of people’s health. Development is for people and not people for development.
The Highway authorities, (R&B) PWD and Pollution Control Board, if such a board is there, must urgently apprise the concern road contractors to see that the dusty portions of the ongoing road constructions must water as per prescribed construction norm. If none of these concern departments wake up then the public must rise up to the occasion to put things in place before we all become victims of the dusty roads. Thousands in Nagaland are already victims of the perennial dust who are suffering from dust related cold, cough and running nose the year round.
It is not a big deal for the Contractor because amount for maintenance of the old road and watering are all part of the contract. If the public do not assert our right to clean and uninterrupted journey, the contractor will be profiting at the expense of the public. I hope the concern authorities will come in on an urgent manner in the interest of the travelers and the commuters.