NH 39 Woes: Who are to blame and condemn?

Can the hill and the valley come together on the National Highways 39 deplorable road condition which is the life line of Imphal and Manipur. Who got the real pinch? It is not only the bus, truck drivers of the thousands of vehicles that ply to-and –fro the NH 39 but, the people’s economy and time, by way of damages to the vehicles and time consuming journey.

Except, sensitive people, the general public, including civil organizations, the MLAs and ministers of all hues, does not bother to think that the most essential building materials and food provisions does not come from the sky to the state capital, Imphal. When this is the case of the common roadways, then, it goes without saying that the hill and the valley affairs remain a complete divide.

In the year 2000, the then governor of Manipur, Ved Marwah had an unscheduled visit to Senapati. Some of the civil organizations mooted to bring to the attention of his Excellency on the NH 39 ugly road conditions. But, was dropped, when some objected that, the road more belongs to the valley regions and beyond and that they never spoke out.  Instead the governor should be apprised on some broad base issue confronting the tribals.

In 2006, the Memei Hoho had issued a hard hitting statement that 90% of the thousands of trucks and buses including small cars that ply to-and-fro daily to Imphal on the NH 39 belongs to the valley region. But their organizations including the people’s representatives never speak out openly, in the media and legislative assembly and they were inflicting pains on themselves. In the first quarter of this 2007, the Senapati Drivers Welfare Union, Tadubi, put a kind of ultimatum to the Imphal administration to immediately improve the road condition of NH 39, on behalf of the people of Manipur. But, nothing was heard from their counterpart trucks, buses drivers unions and their owners of Imphal,

Shortly after, some valley organizations imposed NH 39 bandhin the portions of the 4 lane lanning construction areas of Koirengei (valley section) only, against the snail pace progress. This was most unfortunate, as the NH 39, Kanglatongbi to Mao Gate, hill section has been in the worst condition was not included in the perview of that bandh call. The All Naga Students Association Manipur (ANSAM) and the Kuki. Students Organisation (KSO) imposed a 24 hrs total bandh on the August 17, 2007 of the NH 39 to draw the attention of the people and the people’s representatives on the road condition of NH 39. But, their counterparts, the All Manipur Students Union (AMSU), Manipuri Students Federation (MSF) and the Democratic Students Association Manipur (DESAM) nor other minor organizations had come out with a word of support to the two organizations nor against the bandh call, if they had better formulae and remedies than calling the NH 39 bandh.

But, above all, people takes most seriously that the Manipur civil organizations, the political parties, fire brand politicians, who used to attack the government remain tight lipped nor the government were sincere and admit its inability to look into the matter long time back.

Had the wide media coverage of the Ibobi cabinet decision to hand over the NH 39 to the Border Roads Organization (BRO) kept in  cold storage or has Ibobi ministry failed to convinced the Union Ministry of Shipping, Transport and Highways to adopt the Manipur section of NH 39.

If the government is sincere, they should take into confidence the opposition parties, the civil societies and have a join conclave to settle the improvement of NH 39 and how to deal with those parties that stood on the way.

Decades back, the Kohima administration had succeeded to forego the profits of contract works from NH 39 by its contractors, employing a few engineers and the freedom fighters had not stood on the way, to have their percentage cuts to sustain their struggle for the greater interest of the people and their portion of their NH 39 is in the most smooth riddance condition.
All said, responsible people and organizations are to be blamed and condemned for the present state of affairs of the NH 39, Manipur section.

S. Ashikho,Chairman
Tadubi Town Committee
Patrick K. Lirete
Tadubi – 795 104
Senapati District