Construction of NH 53 in Manipur in full swing

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Imphal, Jan 28 (ANI): The National Highway (NH) 53, which has emerged as the lifeline of Manipur after Naga groups imposed an economic blockade on NH 39 last year, is one of the Centre's flagship projects in the northeast.

The Central Government has been pumping funds into the northeast for the development of infrastructure that forms one of the pillars of growth.

The work is under progress on National Highway (NH) 53 from Imphal to Jiribam, which is the alternate route to NH 39 for trucks and other vehicles.

The NH 53 became the lifeline of Manipur after Naga sponsored groups imposed an economic blockade on NH 39 last year.

The government has since then shows a keen interest in improving the condition of the highway. The Border Roads Organization (BRO) was sanctioned Rs 392 crores for its repair with a final deadline of 2013.wo companies of the BRO are involved in the construction that includes the use of more than 600 labourers, out of whom 60 percent are locals.

Work on seven bridges is complete and on the other two is in progress. As of now, 50 percent of the ground has been levelled. About 150 kilometers of the road is said to be in a deplorable state, while the remaining 71 kilometers is said to be in good condition.

"The Border Roads Organization is maintaining this road well and the progress is good. They have started the patching up work, and wherever widening is needed, they are doing it," said Rumpeo Kamai, Chairman, Sekhaino Village.

"The Border Roads Organization is doing good work here and Manipur should contribute towards it. If the highway is not constructed, the people of Manipur will face problems and the government should understand that the highway is needed for the people of Manipur," added Pavitra Singh, a villager.

The work at the construction site, however, often slows down due to problems like land acquisition formalities, instability and militancy.

Militant groups like National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) and Naga National Council (NNC) extort money from contractors and want a specific percentage of funds allocated for the project. Continuous monsoon showers also affect the work.

Recently, a high level delegation appointed by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the leadership of M C ehanathon visited the construction site to assess progress.

"We heard reports that the road was in bad condition. So, the ministry deputed me to look into the matter and check how the work was going. The Government is keen that NH 53 should be the alternate lifeline of Manipur," said M C Mehanathon, Director (NE-1), MHA.

"The Border Roads Organization is doing the best and they have deployed their manpower. Now the work is under good progress and roads will improve in next 2-3 months and by 2013 the work will finish," he added. (ANI)

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