SIVASAGAR, April 23: The 90 km stretch of the NH37 from Jorhat to Moran has turned into a veritable death trap after the first showers of the rainy season leaving the stretch with dangerous potholes all over and broken sides.
The National Highway & Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL), engaged in improving and widening the 4-lane work of the NH37 appears to be totally indifferent to the plight of the commuters.
The traveling time between Jorhat and Dibrugarh has now doubled causing serious problems for the commuters and the hundreds of goods-laden trucks.
Road accidents have become a daily occurrence. On Friday four passengers were seriously injured in an accident that took place at Sukanpukhuri on NH37.
The NHIDCL awarded contracts to various companies for converting the existing 2-lane NH37 into 4-lane with widening and improving with paved shoulder works, culverts, and construction bridges.
The work began in 2015 but the Highway authority terminated the contract after a year or so following unsatisfactory progress.
After that, the portion between Jorhat to Janjhi (37.8 km) was awarded to one VPSIL company for Rs 738.15 cr and between Janjhi to Demow (37 km) to Gannon Dunkerly Company Pvt Ltd (GDCL) for Rs 1369.02 cr.
The projects were to be completed by 30-05 -2022 but not even 50 p.c. of the project works have been completed by now. The only completed work as of today is the 3.5 km Moran Town NH37 expansion and drain construction project for Rs 14.52 cr.
Recently when the company officers came to assess the progress of work on the portion, activists from several political and student organisations created a ruckus at Darikapar protesting the tardy progress of work in which police had to use force to disperse the crowd.
Jorhat MP Topon Kumar Gogoi, Amguri MLA Pradip Hazarika, and Thowra MLA Sushanata Borgohain severely criticised the NHIDCL officials in presence of Sivasagar deputy commissioner Meghanidhi Dahal in January last for failing their commitments to complete the road within the time frame.
The haphazard manner, in which the NHIDCL is implementing the 4-lane work in this portion, has irked all taxpaying citizens. The stream of vehicles plying on the road is having a hard time negotiating the huge crater-like potholes and cracks on the sides.
In numerous places, huge pools of rainwater impede traffic movement as the potholes covered with rainwater have resulted in a number of serious accidents.
One Sudarshan Sarma (22) of Demow Raisai died on the way to the hospital as the scooter he was riding on fell into a water-filled pothole near Rajmai TE on the NH37 recently.
Eight passengers of a traveler died on the spot near the Thowra Doul in 2019 due to the bruised patch of the road but there has been no follow up the action even after this accident in improving road condition despite the higher ups’ visit to the spot.
The State Transport minister seems to have been too busy with the Municipality and Corporation elections to talk to the Ministry of Road Transport in the Centre.
The portion leading to the Gaurisagar Tinali flyover has long been a quagmire of mud and slough after the NHAIDL began the expansion work of the NH37 in 2018.
Jitu Dutta, a young entrepreneur of Deogharia, Dikhowmukh, filled the huge pits with 12 truckloads of sand gravel at his own cost on April 20. His work has been appreciated profusely over social media while condemning the indifferent attitude of the authorities to the plight of the commuters.
The existing old bridges over the Desung, Darika, Janjhi, and Mitong river are all in very bad shape and have become a great threat of being collapsed at any time. The approach portions to the bridges are all broken. The patch repairing works undertaken by the department are all done perfunctorily.