In a bid to address the persistent safety concerns along the crucial Guwahati-Silchar highway, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has embarked on an...
Digital Desk: In a bid to address the persistent safety concerns along the crucial Guwahati-Silchar highway, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has embarked on an ambitious project to redesign and restructure seven accident-prone areas between Sonapur and Ratachera. Commuters traveling between Silchar and Guwahati have long grappled with challenging road conditions, particularly during the rainy season. National Highway 6, often dubbed the lifeline of Barak Valley, has faced numerous issues, prompting the NHAI's decisive action.
A source within the NHAI revealed that the seven critical points along the Sonapur to Kalaincherra stretch have been identified as the epicenters of accidents and mishaps. While a tunnel was previously constructed in the landslide-prone Sonapur area, even the vicinity of the tunnel has experienced significant landslides recently.
The Tehri Hydro Development Corporation (THDC) has undertaken the responsibility to study these precarious areas, particularly from Sonapur to Ratachera. This comprehensive effort is part of a larger project aimed at enhancing the Guwahati-Silchar highway. With an estimated budget of 2201 crore, the stretch from Jowai to Ratachera is set to undergo a significant transformation, bringing much-needed relief to the commuters in the region.
The involvement of THDC and the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, led by Minister Nitin Gadkari, stems from a memorandum of agreement (MoU) signed between the parties. The NHAI official emphasized that the development project is in strict accordance with the terms of the MoU. Notably, the Guwahati-Silchar stretch boasts approximately six toll gates, but the road's current condition has earned it a reputation as one of the most inadequate in the entire northeast.
During the rainy season, the road is frequently closed due to landslides and other natural calamities, severely disrupting transportation in the region. Previously, confusion existed regarding the jurisdiction over different segments of the highway, involving NHAI, NHIDCL, the Assam government, and the Meghalaya government. However, with the entire Guwahati-Silchar stretch now under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, both NHAI and NHIDCL are joining forces to develop the roadway.
NHAI will allocate 201 crore to improve the stretch and focus on the seven critical points that are prone to accidents, while NHIDCL is also devising a project to revamp the entire highway. These combined efforts promise a much-needed facelift for the Guwahati-Silchar highway, bringing enhanced safety and convenience to the region's travelers.
Meanwhile, the completion of the Mahasadak, also known as the east-west corridor, connecting Guwahati and Silchar via the Dima Hasao district, remains a work in progress. The 49-kilometer stretch between Lumding and Silchar has faced delays due to various reasons, but the NHAI official assured that construction is now in full swing. The project has undergone necessary revisions, including the incorporation of viaducts at flood and landslide-prone areas to fortify its resilience against natural disasters.
It's worth noting that the Lumding-Badarpur hill section of the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) faced significant disruptions last year due to heavy rains and massive landslides. More than 61 locations in this section reported breaches, resulting in disruptions to rail services to Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, and southern Assam. While NFR managed to restore the tracks promptly, the vulnerability of the Lumding-Badarpur hill section to floods and landslides persists. As a proactive measure, NFR is planning an alternate route from Lanka to Silchar, providing a crucial backup option for the future.
The impending completion of the Guwahati-Silchar road route via Shillong, Dima Hasao, and alternate rail routes will offer numerous travel options for the citizens of Silchar and Guwahati. Although the promise of these routes and their development has long been in the making, their imminent completion will undoubtedly bring welcome relief and increased connectivity to the region's commuters.