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January 22, 2011

Hmarkhawlein bridge faces trouble

SILCHAR, Jan 21: The bridge connectingthe largest Hmar dominated cluster of villages in Barak Valley Hmarkhawleinin the Lakhipur subdivision of Cachar with National Highway 53, it is apprehended, may not be complete by its deadline of January as 30 per cent of work is yet to be finished. The people of Hmarkhawlein have been facing serious problem in respect of connectivity and transportation due to the fragile bamboo bridge over a hilly stream locally called Atukhal. The bridge in question has been in totters in the absence of proper maintenance and repair and due to heavy pressure of ever busy human traffic. Residents allege that neither the PWD (R) nor the sub-divisional administration despite frequent approaches and representations has taken any notice for initiating necessary repair and improvement works. Men, women and children have to cross the bridge with caution and care as a faulty step might result in fall in the deep gorge and eventual injury
to bodies. Hmarkhawlein is known for its famous pineapple cultivation and business. It is through this rickety bridge that the farmers or horticulturists have to cross over with loaded pineapples on their back meant for marketing at Silchar and other places of the valley. On persistent demand from the peopleof Hmarkhawlein and interior villages as well as hamlets, the State Government finally agreed to have a concrete RCC bridge for easy and risk free connectivity. It was on November 28, 2008 that the foundation stone of the bridge was laid down by Dinesh Prasad Goala, Minister of Urban Development and Housing, who represents the Lakhipur subdivision, with an outlay of Rs 50 lakh. By April 2009, the progress of work, according to the engineer entrusted with the construction, Mohsin Ahmed Laskar, was 70 per cent. Both the engineer Laskar and contractor Biswajit Dutta alleged that the slow progress of work was due to obstruction created by the locals on
the ground that the labourers engaged in construction were outsiders. They denied it and made it clear that though they did engage workers from the locals, they were frequently off their works without anyrhyme or reason. In the circumstances,there was no alternative than to bringlabourers from outside. (Sentinelassam)