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January 13, 2011

Barak bridge caves in, traffic blocked

SILCHAR, Jan 12: The casual approach of the PWD (NH) towards the improvement of highways, roads and bridges has been once more exposed today when the ever busy bridge on Barak river linking this town with airport, Haflong and Imphal suddenly caved in the middle on the point of second joint from the Rongpur side. This resulted in the obstruction to the movement of vehicular traffic and caused heavy jam on both sides of the bridge. On receiving information, leaders and workers of Pratibadi Gana Mancha led by its chief convener Shankar Dey immediately reached the spot and found the gaping hole which had become quite precarious and hazardous for the safe movement of vehicles.
As a mark of protest against the apathy and indifference of the NH division, the Mancha activists blocked the movement of all sorts of vehicular traffic for more than two hours from mid noon. The executive engineer of the division Pranab Sinha was made to appear before the agitated people. ADC SK Das also reached the spot. The executive engineer failed to offer any satisfactory answer as to why patch work was done on the vital bridge which had developed many cracks and holes. The cracks on the joints had become too risky for commuting and movement of light and heavy vehicles.
All that the executive engineer could say to assuage the agitated workers of Mancha was that as necessary fund for the improvement and repair of the bridge was not released by the Union Ministry of Highways and Roads, patch work had to be done, ignoring the safety of the travelling public. Shankar Dey said that it was on November 11 that the Mancha workers had locked the office of the PWD (NH) as no one was found present till noon. After locking the office, the key was handed over to the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar for initiating action against the erring officers and for taking immediate steps for improvement. But the NH division simply sat over the public outcry for improvement.
As a precautionary measure, the department has restricted the movement of vehicle beyond the capacity of 10 tonne. For the time being, flow of traffic will be maintained with patch work and imposing restriction on the speed limit. The Mancha has cautioned if the repair was not done according to specifications, it would be forced to adopt tougher democratic means of protest. (Source-Sentinelassam)

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