Committee seeks shorter route to U/Subansiri

DAPORIJO, Sep 10: The Ziro-Tai-Ananda Bagan Highway Committee (ZTAHC) has urged the executing agency and the contractors to complete the work on the roads connecting Upper Subansiri district within the stipulated time period, as in the contract agreement, without compromising the quality of work.

Stating that district headquarters Daporijo is strategically located near the Sino-India border, ZTAHC chairman Larbin Nasi informed that the only route connecting the district headquarters to the state capital, Itanagar, via Ziro, is 335 kms long, while the alternative route via Basar/Likabali is 375 kms long.

“Both the routes have been in a deplorable condition ever since it was taken over by the MoRTH from the BRO about 11 years ago,” Nasi said.

The people of Upper Subansiri, Kamle and Lower Siang districts have a longstanding demand for the shortest route, originating from Meb-Geko in Daporijo and connecting with Gerukamukh/Gogamukh in Assam. This would be the shortest route from Daporijo to Itanagar, with a distance of about 190 kms.

While he expressed appreciation that the project was in principle declared as a national highway (NH) on 13 January, 2017, by the then union Road Transport & Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, and the ministry entrusted the project to the NHIDCL, and the work was subsequently awarded to M/s Technocrates Advisory Pvt Ltd on 16 February, 2018, to carry out feasibility study, preparation of DPR and providing preconstruction services, Nasi pointed out that “the DPR is reportedly pending clearance from the PMO for formal declaration as NH since October 2018.”

A former MLA, Nasi informed that the survey team deputed for carrying out ground survey and investigation was recalled on 11 October, 2018. Since then, no ground survey has taken place.

“Sensing this as a regressive action, a series of joint representations/memoranda and reminders have been submitted to the chief minister, MoS (Home) on various occasions for formal declaration of the NH. Despite all-out efforts made during the last two years, there has been literally no sign of progress as on date,” Nasi said.

In addition, a ZTAHC-led delegation submitted a representation to the brigade commander of the 22 Brigade, Bora Rupuk, on 30 August, 2019, through the Upper Subansiri DC, and to the GOC of the 56 Mountain Division, Likabali, on 27 August, 2019, highlighting the importance of roads as a strategic infrastructure for national security, besides being equally important for the civilian population.

The take-off point at Meb-Geko (NH 13) is very close to the 22 Brigade HQ (15 kms) and terminates at Gerukamukh (Assam) – a distance of approximately 75 kms – which further connects Gogamukh NH 15 through the existing double-lane road (14 kms).

“Unlike other projects in Arunachal Pradesh, the landowners all along the proposed route have volunteered to donate their land free of cost, which was intimated to the MoRTH secretary by the state government,” Nasi pointed out, and highlighted the road’s strategic importance from the military point of view.

“The very mild gradient all along the left bank of Subansiri will facilitate the fast movement of army, heavy artilleries and its logistics support system in the event of any national threat from the enemy country. It is given to learn that Ashapila, Maja and Sera 7 posts, once under the control of India, are reportedly under Chinese occupation now. The threat of intrusion by PLA is imminent and is all the more vulnerable now with this porous international border.

“The construction of this highway has become all the more relevant and urgent in view of current border conflict,” Nasi said.

“In the best interest of national security, we appeal to the MoRTH, MoD and MoHA, GoI to consider immediate declaration of in-principle declared NH in the right earnest immediately on priority without further delay,” Nasi said.