The NH-39 (Now NH -2 /A -1) road has become a contentious issue amongst the NHIDCL, the Southern Angami Citizens, and the Government of India. The NHIDCL blames the landowners for not parting with their land for the expansion and construction of 2- lane National Highways, while the landowners have yet to receive any compensation since the 18th century.

The Nagaland state government has assessed the damage liabilities and submitted compensation estimates and liabilities to the MoRTH in 2022. Despite various memorandums being written and submitted by the Southern Angami Public Organization (JAPO/SAPO) to the former President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam, on October 26, 2002, to the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, through the Governor of Nagaland on September 16, 2020, to Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, the Hon’ble Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Government of India, through the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Nagaland on August 23, 2022 and to the Hon’ble President of India, Smt. Droupadi Murmu, through the Chief Minister of Nagaland on November 3, 2022, as well as a letter communicated to the Hon’ble Union Minister, Shri Nitin Gadkari, by the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Nagaland on March 15, 2022 and July 15, 2022, the ministry has ignored and rejected the request, showing no concern for this existing national highway.

In spite of importance as the shortest route and lifeline for the neighbouring states and districts, the road of the National Highway -39/ NH-2/ A-1 has been completely ignored and neglected by the Government of India.
The Manipur Government on the other hand remains indifferent and ungrateful, unsupportive to the Nagaland State Government, particularly to the Southern Angami though this road has been serving as a vital link for their communication and trade, for generations.

The inadequacy of road designs from the pre-Indian independence era, particularly concerning the narrow carriageway width and unstable infrastructure, presents significant challenges for modern vehicles, especially heavy-duty trucks transporting goods to Manipur State. This out-dated road infrastructure struggles to accommodate the size and weight of 10 to 18-wheeler trucks, leading to frequent breakdowns and disruptions along the National Highway.

The stakeholders have shown remarkable patience by allowing commuters to utilize this road for over a century without seeking any highway compensation or liabilities. However, we rightfully insist that the Government of India acquire the right-of-way (ROW) for a two-lane road with paved shoulders and bring it under the purview of the National Highway Act.

In 2002, the SAPO proposed upgrading the road to a four-lane highway, but unfortunately, the proposal was overlooked by the Government of India. It wasn’t until 2019 that the Government of India, under the Ministry of (MoRTH), finally approved and sanctioned a two-lane upgrade for the existing National Highway. Despite this long-awaited approval, the NHIDCL failed to execute the program as planned.

Moreover, they inexplicably descaled the existing program, leaving stakeholders puzzled about the reasons behind this decision this amounted to cheating and misleading the village authority by descoping the existing two-lane NH-39/NH-2 AH-1 road and miserably failed to undertake and carry out the program.

The Southern Angami community took the initiative to address the issue by constituting a SAPO Technical Committee in 2020 headed by the Engineer –In- Chief (Rtd.). NPWD Nagaland. It is pertaining to note that the NHIDCL obtained a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Lerie/ Phesama Check Gate (Length 211.709 – 185.540 26.169 Km) to Mao Gate (Nagaland Political Boundary) for the construction of a 2-lane highway with an actual sanction cost of 315.63Cr., but brought down to 224.17 Cr. and quoted below 25% with an actual working amount of 167.23 Cr. Dated 20th Oct.2020 with a spend time allocation of 549 days i.e. 22nd April 2022.

However, the amount was descoped to Rs.120.20 Cr. the best reason knows to them. This amount sanctioned covered a 2-lane having with the formation width of 11.00 – 12.00 metre road 7-metre carriage width, hard shoulder, drainage and necessary retaining wall, breast wall, toe wall, culverts and 5 numbers of important minor bridges were to be constructed since the bridges were aging as constructed during Pre-independence India.

The package also includes widening to design width, geometrical improvement correction of alignment of horizontal curve etc. It’s pertinent to note that the importance of this very bridge was discussed with the NHIDCL officials and authority engineers at the site by our former Hon’ble MLA during his official visit and inspection in the year 2021. However, there was no positive response from the NHIDCL. The ongoing pavement work, as per the specification given in the DPR is WMM and not WBM with GSB:260mm thick WMM: 240mm, DBM:90mm BC:40mm total 370mm thickness but the present ongoing work execution at the site is neither WMM nor WBM and is deviated from the original approved DPR. On observation there is excessive earth, spoiled earth, or debris being used; as a result, the road structure failed due to wrong application in the execution.

The present ongoing road construction is neither a single lane nor two lanes but an intermediate road. The committee repeatedly deliberated with the Hon’ble Governor of Nagaland and the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Nagaland, the Hon’ble MLA’s, various Government Authorities of Nagaland, and the NHIDCL to resolve the matter. However, despite repeated efforts by the Nagaland Government, Southern Angami Public Organization, and SAPO Technical Committee (SAPOTC), NHIDCL, and MoRTH showed no concern for advice and suggestions provided by Nagaland Government authorities and SAPO technical committee.

The recommendations and concerns were ignored, and NHIDCL continued to prioritize its own interests over community needs. The Organization and the citizens have the rights and the desire to know on what criteria the work is executed as to whether payment of the present ongoing work is against the actual work done which is the resurfacing and restrengthening (Descope of Kohima – Mao Road vide letter No. NHIDCL/RO-Kohima – EOT – COSSch – H/KM/Vol -1/2020 -21/2616 dated 26th July 2022) or is that for the full 2- lane width and hard shoulder mode of payment. The NHIDCL and the contractor must clarify and justify whether the present work executed is in line and in tune with the Detailed Project Report (DPR).

As per the situation demand Southern Angami Public Organization shall continue to endorse the demand of Southern Angami Youth Organization (SAYO) requesting and appealing upon the Hon’ble Governor of Nagaland and the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Nagaland to depute their officials and staff along with the Nagaland Government authorities to witness and cross check the on-going quality workmanship executed by the NHIDCL and the contractor in NH-39/ NH2/ A-1 and point and spelled out the main cause of the problem that arises and further furnished independent observation and enquire as to who is right and wrong until then the SAPO shall support and endorse the demand of the Southern Angami Youth Organization (SAYO) for the interest and safety of commuters. “Human security and safety are our prime concerns and priority”.

The Southern Angami Public Organization (SAPO) further called upon its Frontal Organizations and its citizens to assist and pave alternative roads available in your areas for essential goods vehicles carrying cargo to Imphal, Manipur as they have been facing difficulties due to natural calamities.

(TEPUL HOPOVI)
President, SAPO
(SWELUL PUCHO)
General  Secretary,  SAPO
(KEVIPOPI)
 General Secretary,
SAPO, Technical Committee

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *