IMPHAL: Union MoS for defence Palam Raju will inspect the progress of the development work of the deplorable NH-37, connecting Imphal and Jiribam sub-division bordering Assam on Wednesday.
Previously known as NH-53, the highway is currently being maintained by the Border Roads Organization (BRO), which is partly under the Union defense ministry. After NH-2 (Imphal-Dimapur route), NH-53 is the alterative supply route for land-locked Manipur.
With various tribal agitators launching frequent economic blockades effectively on NH-2, that is, the Imphal-Dimapur route, the general public and hordes of civil bodies of the state have been pressuring the government to improve the Imphal-Jiribam route for the last few years.
The Sardar Hills Districthood Demand Committee (SHDDC) launched an economic blockade and a counter-blockade on the two national highways for over 100 days last year forcing the people to pay Rs 2,500 for a filled LPG cylinder and Rs 200 for a litre of petrol in the grey market.
During the agitation period, the government, however, managed to bring in commodities under heavy security cover once or twice a week along the Imphal-Jiribam route.
The Union MoS minister will land at the border town ofMorehon Tuesday afternoon in a helicopter for his two-day visit to Manipur, sources said, adding that he will leave for Imphal on the same day. At the state capital, the Union minister will call on governor Gurbachan Jagat and chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh.
He is scheduled to visit Shanti Khunou village along NH-37 on Wednesday and personally inspect and take stock of the work progress of the route before leaving for the national capital on the same day.
In the meantime, members of the high-level monitoring committee, which was constituted following a court order, will also study the development work of Imphal-Jiribam route on Saturday next.
A few days back, the All Manipur Road Transport and Drivers’ Motor Workers’ Union had pressurized the government to complete the repairing work along Imphal-Jiribam route by June this year.
The union alleged that raw materials for repairing the route was lying along the roadside and a GREF personnel abstained from working while on duty.