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48-hr road blockade of NH 44 announced

Residents frustrated over State Govt’s apathy

From Our Correspondent

 JOWAI: Frustrated over the Government’s inaction to repair the arterial National Highway 44, the Dorbar Shnong (village councils) of ten villages under Narpuh Elaka in East Jaintia Hills District have called for a 48-hour road blockade from 5am on May 13 till 5 am on May 15 to be followed by an indefinite road blockade from May 17.

The road blockade has been called in protest against the adamant attitude of the government to repair the strategic highway that links the eastern part of Meghalaya, Barak Valley of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura with mainland India.

Headmen and elders of ten villages including Shymphlong, Donaskur, Dona-Umbluh, Lumsoski, Borsora, Umkiang, Ratacherra, Malidor, Kuliang and Dona Bhoi held a public meeting on Saturday at Umkiang and decided to go ahead with the night road blockade to draw the Government’s attention to the deplorable condition of NH 44 from Lukha Bridge up to Malidor.

Leaders of the Hynniewtrep Achik National Movements (HANM), the Ka Seng Samla Shnong, Umkiang and hundreds of residents of the area attended the meeting and pledged their support to the night road blockade.

Chairman of the Joint Dorbar Shnong, Khamsngur, informed that a prominent stretch of the Jowai-Badarpur Road from Lukha Bridge up to Malidor has been in bad shape for years and is worsening everyday.

“The deplorable road condition has put the life of commuters at high risk,” he said, adding, “Many vehicles, particularly heavy loaded trucks, break down or capsize on the middle of the road thereby blocking the highly congested highway for hours.”

He also claimed that the Joint Dorbar Shnong had, on several occasions, submitted memorandums to the Government to repair the road, to no effect.

“We are left with no other option. No more memorandums and no more delegation. We will block the highway so that the Government will open its eyes to our problems,” said Umkiang Headman S Sutnga.

This Correspondent, while on his way to Umkiang to attend the public meeting, witnessed many vehicles which had either broken down or capsized on the middle of the road, adding to the congestion.

The long stretch of the National Highway from Tongseng Narpuh via Sunapur till Ratacherra passes through landslide prone areas and remains shut for days at a stretch, especially during the monsoon season.

Accidents are a common occurrence on this stretch of the road and scores of lives have been lost in the past few years on this particular stretch of the highway.

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