People from over 75 villages under four assembly constituencies along the stretch of the Imphal-Tamenglong road, popularly known as IT Road, have conveyed their grave restlessness over the condition of the state's oldest highway as the monsoon season approaches.
Various civil society organisations in the area, inlcuding the Joint Monitoring Development Committee, Kuki Inpi Twilang Block, Kuki Students' Organisation Twilang Block, Twilang Area Kuki Chiefs' Association, Liangmei Naga Council, Ahangruak Chief/Chairmen Association, Gorkha Students' Union and Gorkha Welfare Union Irang Unit along with various village chiefs and chairmen held a crucial joint meeting at Poudel Basti (10 miles) to deliberate on the assurance of the Works Minister Govindas Konthoujam to the people of the area when he, along with other ministers and MLAs, visited the landslide-prone Lamlenkon near T Vaichong subdivisional headquarters in May, 2022.
After a threadbare discussion, the meeting unanimously resolved to urge the Works Minister to materialise his assurance before the monsoon season.
The joint meeting also decided to resort to any form of agitation to demonstrate their disappointment in case the concerned Minister fails to execute his assurance before the monsoon season in consultation with various district civil society organizations.
The works minister had on May 22, 2022 inspected the condition of the state's oldest highway, the Imphal-Tamenglong Road, which had been approved in principle for upgrade to a national highway by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways along with his cabinet colleagues Nemcha Kipgen, Awangbow Newmai, and MLA N. Kayisii.
Enock Kipgen, a member of the Joint Monitoring Development Committee, who is also the President of KSO Twilang block, recalled that the Works Minister Govindas Konthoujam, on his maiden visit to I.T. Road areas for inspection of the Imphal-Tamenglong Road (I.T. Road), assured the public that the Government will soon begin renovation work for a stretch of 35 Km with assistance from Central Road Infrastructure Fund (CRIF).
However, almost a year has passed but no renovation work is executed till today, he asserted.
He continued that as the monsoon season is arriving very soon, the people are deeply apprehensive about the road condition that if not renovated before the monsoon season, they are sure to meet with the same fate they had endured for the past many years.
The IT Road area where the state's oldest highway is passing through has been encircled by four assembly constituencies including, Kangpokpi AC, Saitu AC, Tadubi AC, and Tamei AC where there are two Ministers and two MLAs despite the area seems to be a forgotten land, Enock added.
During the maiden visit of the Works Minister, his cabinet colleagues, Minister Nemcha Kipgen also acknowledged the importance of better road infrastructure in improving the quality of life while Minister Awangbow Newmai acknowledged the importance of I.T. Road as an important lifeline for the people of Tamei, Tadubi, and Kangpokpi assembly constituencies.
The Water Resources Minister, Awangbow Newmai had also assured that the MLAs of the three assembly constituencies, Kangpokpi AC, Tadubi AC, and Tamei AC, will galvanize their own resources to maintain the road until the road renovation work begins.
According to the Joint Monitoring Development Committee, as assured by the Ministers during their visit, we had engaged in clearing the debris of landslides and mudslides only to earn heavy debts which none of the ministers are ready to clear.
Despite the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways' approval in principle for upgrading I.T. Road to a National Highway, with no new official announcement, no highway number has been allotted to the 120 Km long IT Road which is a vital link connecting the people of Tamei AC, Tadubi AC, and Kangpokpi AC.
The joint meeting of the various civil society organizations also unanimously resolved to resort to any form of agitation in consultation with the district's various CSOs if at least the 35 Km stretch of the state's oldest highway is not renovated as assured by the Works Minister before the monsoon season.