Noting shabby Imp-Ukl road stretch RS MP’s observation
An admission and a correction or a clarification is in line. The news item under the heading ‘RS MP notes pitiable road condition of Ukhrul’ which appeared on the February 22 edition of this newspaper should have ideally appeared on page 1 of The Sangai Express but last minute adjustment to accommodate advertisements that came pushed the said news item to page 9. The news was however given the due prominence on page 9 and it is with a feeling of vindication that one refers here to the said news item. It was on January 28 that The Sangai Express had commented on the shabby road that runs between Imphal and Ukhrul district headquarters and it is gratifying to note that the titular King of Manipur, Leishemba Sanajaoba too has taken note of the shabby state of one of the most important roads in the State. It was more than the narrative of a personal experience that the Rajya Sabha MP narrated to the people of Ukhrul, but can be seen as an extension of the recent inspection drive conducted by Ukhrul Assembly Constituency MLA Ram Muivah and Phungyar AC MLA Leishiyo Keishing. The length of the road, that is from Yaingangpokpi to Finch Corner on the Imphal-Ukhrul road is just 30.9 kilometres and it is stupefying that it has now taken more than two years to come anywhere near the stage of completing the road expansion work on this stretch. The National Highway Infrastructure Develop-ment Corporation has reportedly given the assurance that the road expansion/development work is likely to be completed before the Shirui Lily Festival which may be held sometime in April or May this year but remember this is the target and target is always qualified by the term likely. Judging from what the titular King said while inaugurating the multi-purpose hall of the Tangkhul Naga Wungnao Long on February 21, it may be surmised that he went by road and must have experienced the dust and the bumps while on the way to Ukhrul from Imphal. This is about the honourable MP, but don’t forget that this must be the everyday experience of the numerous bus and taxi drivers who ply their vehicles on this road to earn a living. Same thing is for the travellers, and the travellers will include the sick and ailing coming down to Imphal for treatment, the students, the traders and the average citizens, the Tom, Dick and Harry or Tomba, Hongba and Chaoba. What about them, is the question that follows, for roads are built for the convenience of the public and to promote connectivity and trade and commerce.
As already noted back on January 28 this year, it is Uphul-Waiphul at the moment and once the sky opens up, it will be Leikhom-Leinang. A dirt track-this is what the stretch between Yaingangpokpi and Finch Corner is right now and significant to note too that the 30.9 km stretch between the two said points is a part of the 87 km long stretch between Imphal and Ukhrul district headquarters. Imagine travelling nearly half the distance between Imphal and Ukhrul on a dirt track and only those who have to travel by road will understand the backbreaking experience on this route. It is also surprising to note that none of the Ukhrul based voluntary organisations have made even a squeak against the rickety road stretch for over two years. On other issues the Ukhrul based CSOs are known to kick up quite a ruckus, but it is flummoxing that not a single question has been raised on how soon the road expansion/development work can be completed. This is certainly not how an important district headquarters should be connected to the capital city of a State and one hopes that the inspection exercise undertaken by Messrs Ram Muivah and Leishiyo Keishing in January this year is not a one off thing. Two years is 370 days and the gas pedal should be pushed now. As the Rajya MP noted, no event was held during the G20 Summit at Ukhrul due to the pathetic road stretch and there is no reason why the present shabby condition should continue. The Shirui Lily Festival will be coming soon and one definitely would not want to introduce Ukhrul to outside visitors with such a shabby road stretch.