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Hundreds of trucks still stranded on Assam-Tripura border

A woman labourer works at a road construction site on World Labour Day (May Day) at Kamalghat village, about 30 km (19 miles) from Agartala, capital of India's northeastern state of Tripura May 1, 2009. REUTERS/Jayanta Dey (INDIA EMPLOYMENT BUSINESS)
A woman labourer works at a road construction site on World Labour Day (May Day) at Kamalghat village, about 30 km (19 miles) from Agartala, capital of India's northeastern state of Tripura May 1, 2009. REUTERS/Jayanta Dey (INDIA EMPLOYMENT BUSINESS)

Lowerpoa (Assam-Tripura border): Continuous rain is hampering the repairing work of the 20 kilometre stretch on the National Highway 44 in Assam-Tripura border that has turned to slush stopping movement of vehicles to Tripura through the lone road connectivity with mainland India.

Hundreds of vehicles are stalled for several days as vehicles are unable to cross the area and the drivers and co-drivers complained of scarcity of food and water.

“Fifteen days back I loaded from Hyderabad and got stuck here due to the poor road and there is no sign of any repair. Forget washing and bathing, we do not have water to drink. Uncountable numbers of vehicles are stuck here and the queue is six to seven kilometre long consisting of thousand of vehicles,” said Sukhdev Singh, a driver

“I have been driving lorry in the road for last 15 to 16 years but during the last two to three years the road condition has worsen. The new government is trying to repair but rain is hampering the work,” he added.

While another driver, Tapan Das said, “For the last seven day we are stuck here and now we are exhausted of money. We even do not have money to eat. The work is not progressing and last three days is has stopped. Our condition is that we even do not have drinking water.”

Meantime, Tripura PWD Minister Badal Chowdhury had written a letter to the Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari expressing his concern on the severely damaged national highway in Assam-Tripura border leading to long stranded vehicles resulting severe crisis of supply of essential commodities like fuel, LPG, food grains and infrastructure material.

“I had written a letter to Nitin Gadkari mentioning that all essential commodities like petrol, diesel, LPG, rice, cement, sugar, salt and infrastructure materials like steel, stone, cement everything comes through this road and have written for intervention on priority basis,” Chowdhury said.

Chowdhury also spoke with Assam’s new PWD Minister Parimal Suklabaidya who assured of fast repair beside permanent solution to problem in the next few months.

“We just came to know that on priority basis the MRTH (Ministry of Road Transport & Highways) has given the responsibility to NHIDCL (National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation) for repairing of the highway in war-footing manner. As far as our report goes today also few vehicles crossed over and our Chief Engineer of state highway is halting there from yesterday,” said Chowdhury.

Earlier Tripura BJP President Biplab Deb had also meet Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal and requested him to look into the matter on priority basis and the later assured to immediately take up the work.

Meantime, under the order of Assam Chief Minister who had travelled to the state’s border with Tripura yesterday, to review the condition of a 20 kilometre stretch on the National Highway 44 that has turned to slush because of incessant rains, a team under the leadership of Karimganj DC Manoj Kumar Deka visited the spot.

Deka said, “The situation is very bad but agencies engaged in the repairing are trying their best. From last night vehicle movement has resumed and around 150 lorries have passed, today morning also few went and we are trying our best. Vehicle movement had not stopped totally for 12 days, occasionally few vehicles had moved.”

Tripura is fully dependent on this highway for supply of essentials, food grain, fertilisers, petroleum products, construction materials and other commodities from different states of India. For now Tripura is reeling under severe fuel crisis as over 1000 trucks carrying fuel and other essential supplies are stuck on NH 44 but hopefully the situation will change very fast as repair work is going on. (ANI)

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