HC orders emergency highway repairing

HC orders emergency highway repairing

IMPHAL, Jan 19: A Division Bench of the High Court of Manipur comprising of acting Chief Justice N Kotiswar and Justice Kh Nobin has directed the authorities concerned including PWD and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) to take up all necessary steps and actions for executing the work of repairing and maintaining Tendongyang to Koubru Leikha section of NH 2 on priority basis by invoking the emergency clause as provided under Section 2.2 (xviii) under Chapter 1 of the CPWD Manual.
The High Court today issued a directive towards this end in connection with a PIL filed against the blockade imposed on NH 2 and NH 37 in November 2015. Notably, in due course, the scope of the PIL has been expanded to consider the deplorable conditions of the two National Highways.
The Court issued the order for emergency repairing/maintenance of the Tendongyang-koubru Leikha section after the PWD Additional Chief Engineer III declared the repairing/restoration work of the same section as emergency.
The Court further directed the authorities concerned to complete the repairing/restoration work before the onset of monsoon season by the month of April this year.
The Court also directed the State Government to provide adequate security to agencies engaged in construction/maintenance of Imphal-Jiribam highway (NH 37).
The High Court issued this directive after NHIDCL’s counsel Henba submitted that NHIDCL has been facing certain difficulties like abduction of officials/engineers by armed militants while executing the highway project.
The counsel submitted that there have been four incidents of abductions during the last couple of months.
After hearing the counsel’s submission, the High Court directed the State Government to apprehend those persons involved in the abduction of officials/engineers and invoke the provisions of National Security Act, if necessary.
The Court also asked the State authorities to submit a report regarding steps taken to check such subversive activities within a period of two weeks.
With regard to the tonnage of vehicles plying on Imphal-Dimapur sector of NH 2, Amicus Curiae A Romenkumar said that the press release issued by the Transport Directorate on January 4 which limited the maximum permissible tonnage of trucks, tankers and LPG bullets plying on Imphal-Dimapur highway to 25 tonnes may not be in compliance with the existing rules.
Saying that the particular press release was not in consonance with the notification issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway, Romenkumar opined that it may not be valid.
Later, the Court instructed the MoRTH Guwahati Regional Office and PWD authorities to examine the issue relating to the limit of tonnage of vehicles plying on Imphal-Dimapur highway by taking into account suggestions of all the stake holders.
This exercise is expected to be completed within two weeks so that the matter can be considered on the next date.
While listing the same matter for the next hearing on February 7, the High Court pronounced that the limitation of tonnage imposed by the Transport Department through the press release issued on January 4 will continue to be operative during the interim period.

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