The Pathsala Anchalik unit of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) lashed out at the KMC Constructions Ltd for delaying the construction (expansion) work of the four-lane National Highway 31 in Bajali sub-division under Barpeta district.
The expansion work of the 27.3 km National Highway 31 was started by KMC starting from Kaljhar to Bezkuchi , more than a decade back but there has been no sign of completion of the highway.
Talking to Northeast Now, Nipukan Sarma secretary of the Pathsala Anchalik unit of AASU, said, “We have come to know about release of an amount of Rs 89.45 lakh to KMC for plantation work in the middle corridor of the four-lane road for beautification and natural support. But one can see any sign of plantation in the National Highway from Kaljhar to Bezkuchi.”
A section of locals also alleged that the company has failed to complete even 50 per cent of the expansion work of the NH 31.
The delay in the expansion work of National Highway 31, especially in Bajali sub-division of Barpeta district has led to an alarming increase in road accidents and has caused severe inconvenience to the people.
“Due to the poor condition of the road, accidents occur frequently and till date a number of people have lost lives due to road mishaps. Thousands of travellers use this road every day to visit various parts of Assam and the Northeast,” said locals.
Various local organisations have undertaken agitational programmes like road blockade and submitted memorandums to the authorities concerned. But the voice of the agitating locals has fallen only in deaf ears.
A letter by one local, Pankaj Sarma, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 16, 2015 too failed to bring in any positive response.
The construction of a bridge near Dhamarkur has also remained incomplete besides a railway overbridge at Pathsala. The approach roads to various small bridges are yet to be completed.
Bridge construction work over river Kaldia at Patacharkuchi was suspended due to reasons best known to the authority concerned.
A number of high-level meetings were convened by the Barpeta district administration in this regard and locals including representatives of various organisations of Bajali sub-division decided to refrain from taking up any agitational programme following assurances from the district administration to pressurize the construction compnay.
Even KMC tendered a written apology and promised to complete the pending work within December 2018 and construct a bridge at Patacharkuchi before March 2018, but it has failed to fulfil its promise.
The district administration even threatened to take legal action against the construction company.
In Patacharkuchi, the construction company did not pay any attention for improving the service roads on both sides of NH 31.
The underground passages have also not been constructed properly for which the people have to cross the NH 31 taking risks.
The drains on both sides of the road have also remained incomplete.
It has also been alleged that the huge cracks have developed in several areas in the constructed portion of the National Highway.
The locals and organisations of Bajali sub-division have expressed strong resentment over the poor quality work and incomplete construction of the four-lane expansion project on NH 31 between Kaljhar and Bezkuchi and sought immediate completion of the road.