Deteriorating roads become menace during monsoon in Sikkim

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Savita Tamang

Gangtok, June 28:

In ancient times rivers used to be the major means of transports but in modern context rivers have been replaced by roads. Roads have become a vital, important means of transportation and cheap as well. Roads also catalyse financial, economical and overall development of the state.

If we talk about the state of Sikkim, the condition of roads and bridges are very poor and the only means of transportation in state rests with road connectivity as the state is yet to be connected with railway or air.

The condition of road in east Sikkim where the capital is located is equally bad. The road connecting Gangtok to Ranipool, despite being a National Highway is pathetic. The number of puddles are increasing on a daily basis catering inconvenience to the travelers. It is not long that the road connecting Ranipool to Gangtok was repaired but within a short span of time the roads have been damaged. The roads have number of pot holes in the middle and along the side of the road too. As it rains the holes get filled with water creating problems for the drivers and confusing them at the same time. Numerous accidents have taken place in the way between Gangtok to Ranipool.

According to rules made by Central government roads once made should remain fine for at least 5 years. The bad condition shows that the contractor may not have used good material during construction.

Chief Engineer, Department of Roads and Bridges, Government of Sikkim informed that that most of the roads in state were constructed during the Chogyal regime along with some during the time of the subsequent government. But those roads were not designed to carry the volume of existing traffic in the state. Earlier the number of vehicle and loading were less but with the development of state presently the earlier roads are unable to carry the present capacity.

The coming up of hydro power projects, industries and private companies has increased invariably. Those roads which are not being upgraded or strengthened initially, repairing works have been started considering the smooth, free movement of vehicles. By 2015 the government and the department concerned expect to have all major roads widening and upgraded too. Mr. Bhutia stated that for carrying out the construction work of the 4 project a total of 217 pre qualification document have been submitted and presently the document are under evaluation and after completion of scrutiny the selected companies will be called for financial bidding and the whole process will take at least 3-4 months time for completion.

Further more Mr. Bhutia sated that state in present context is prioritizing tourism industry but the condition of existing roads in state has not been supporting the increasing inflow of tourist so the government has planned to widen, strengthen and up grade the state highway, major district roads along with major tourist destinations considering the increase in inflow of tourist in state. Adding more Mr. Bhutia stated that with the prior approval of the state government numerous proposal of construction of new roads in state has been submitted to MoRTH under the 12th five years plan inclusive of NEC, NLCPR (Ministry of DoNER) for possible funding to widen, upgrade and strengthen the road connectivity of the state as well.

Informing further Mr. Bhutia in regards to the monsoon calamity along the state highway said that the departments have already placed enough resources, adequate machineries to clear the high way or the state high way during monsoon. Adding more Mr. Bhutia informed that under Asian Development bank project the road connecting from Manpur, Jorethang till Namchi is also in the pipe line for up gradation, widening. Whereas Sichey- Ranka road widening, up gradation with carrying width of 7.5 meters is also under the pipe line but the Gangtok bye pass connecting Ranipool with Burtuk (double lane) with a construction cost of Rs. 100 crores is under execution and the ninth mile bye pass (bye passing the 9th mile land slide) with a construction cost of Rs .30 crores is under the approval process from the MoRTH.

Further more Mr. Bhutia in regards to the cooperative society works stated that the cooperative work is respect to roads in state has been very successful as I have visited, inspected the construction sites recently and found that the works initiated are good and qualitative and added that the objective of the state government in starting cooperative movement in state has turned out to be a successful one with respect to Road and Bridges department. Further more Mr. Bhutia informed that recently the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway, Government of India has approved and sanctioned four major projects at strength of Rs.636 crores.

(Courtesy: Sikkim Mail)



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