Senior citizens urge govt to look for additional routes

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IMPHAL Oct 14: Senior Citizens for Society president N Binoy Singh has lamented that people of Manipur are still suffering even after the 68-day economic blockade called by Naga civil societies along national highways ended months back.
Speaking in a press conference held today at its office, Binoy stated that state government should make alternative an additional arrangements for carrying goods into the state apart from National Highway 39 and 53. He hinted the Tongjei Maril passage as the alternative route.
The national highway 39 has become a liability as many organizations are extorting huge amounts from goods laden vehicles coming  towards the state, Binoy said.
Despite movements of trucks under security escort, the safety of the drivers are still doubtful, Binoy said and pointed out the fact that prices of fuel and other essential commodities which shoot up during the blockade period in the state have not come down yet.
He further stated that state government need to address the issue as it has caused untold hardships to the general public.
Emphasizing the need to develop the NH 53 and also the Tongjei Maril Road (Old Cachar road) which is 150 kms from Jiribam and is the shortest distance from Imphal, Binoy further stated that the development of the NH 53 must be quality controlled and completed at a war footing.
 
To address the woes of the public, state government should take the initiative of the Indo-Myanmar trade and try to import fuel from Myanmar.
 
Prof. L Sadananda, general secretary of the society voiced similar concern that NH-53 remains neglected by both the central and that state governments.
Sadananda proposed National Highway Protection Force in the line of Railway Protection Force. Appealing to the central government, Sadananda said that 3/4 CRPF battalions engaged as transportation escorts are not sustainable therefore a dedicated force catering to highway protection should be institutionalized.
Advocate Khaidem Mani said between NH-39 and 53, the later is more important as it connects Manipur directly to Assam whereas the former passes through Nagaland. Even though National Highway 53 is political less problematic, the slush and mud makes it difficult for vehicles to negotiate, he said.
BRO projects to complete the Highway in 2/3 years but a repairing for temporary use should be done, he said, it is only some 15-20 km long that needs major attention.

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