BRO draws flak from villagers for shoddy NH-37 work

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IMPHAL, October 31: Many villagers residing along the National Highway-37 have expressed their disappointment with the nature of work initiated by the Border Road Organisation (BRO) for developing the highway.

A press team conducted tour jointly organized by the Information Centre for Hill Areas Manipur along with Zeliangrong Women Union-Tamenglong, Tamenglong Women Society and Kabui Mothers’ Association inspected the work progress along the National Highway-37.

The joint team during its tour came across about 80 labourers of the Gautum company responsible for taking up development works from Kamai to Makru (20 Km) while about 60 labourers of the BRTF were seen engaged in the development works along the Barak to Irang stretch.

However none of the labourers of the ABCI company that has also been allotted to take up works from Barak to Kamai stretch and the BRO were seen taking up the developmental works.

It may be recalled that the BRO in an official statement in July, informed the state Chief Minister to have employed 1280 laborers to take up works for developing and repairing works of the National Highway-37.  

A public meeting was also held at Kaiphundai church participated by several village leaders, organizations representing villagers settling along the highway. During the meeting, the villagers expressed their disappointment over the nature of works and misleading statement of the BRO.

Aniliu, president Zeliangrong Women Union, Tamenglong, said that the road conditions of the NH-37 still remained in deplorable condition despite decades of sanctioned funds released by the central ministry.

She claimed that the people are not satisfied with the work progress of the BRO. The people living along the highway are eating dust during dry season which is an indication of the progress made by the BRO so far, she said.

She appeal the government to repair the road and also widen some of the narrow stretches besides urging to construct parking lots for about 50 vehicles (trucks) along with a guest house between Khongsang to Kaiphundai.

“Normally commuters have to spent at least one hour to travel from Khongsang to Kaiphundai but owing to the deplorable condition the vehicles are taking three hours today”, she further claimed.

According to John Gangmei, secretary Kaiphundai village, the allegation made by the BRO against villagers residing along the NH-37 of not providing co-operation is baseless. He clarified that the villagers have been extending their helping hands to the BRO ranging from labours, supplying firewood, sandstone etc.

The villagers were shock to learn about the misleading statement of the BRO, he further asserted.

The village secretary also lauded the joint team for highlighting the BRO’s misleading work stating that “It is a wake up call”.

He alleged that the BRO recruited numbers of casual paid labours, however most of the labourers were deducted from their list, he said before assuring to continue giving full co-operation in any developmental works of the highway.  

Earlier during the meeting, ICHAM president N. Rajendro, enlightened the villagers that the central government had earmarked Rs 300 crore for the year 2010-11, for road development of the NH-37 of which a total of Rs 70 crore have been released, he asserted.

He stressed the need for villages to be aware and investigate schemes, projects meant for development of the public properties to ensure speedy development.

While responding to queries put up by media persons regarding the delay in taking up work, the officer in-charge of the Gautum company cited the monsoon season for the delay. However he further assured that the company will deploy more labourers to fasten the developmental work.

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