Massive Dharna by Congress against pathetic and unsafe condition of NH 223


Port Blair, Jan 31: The Andaman Nicobar Pradesh Congress Committee organized a Dharna and Road blockade (Rasta Rokho) at Ograbranj junction from 6.00 a.m on 31/01/2018 to invite the attention of the Administration towards the pathetic and unsafe condition the National Highway No.223 (ATR)and the inaction of National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited ( NHIDCL). Hundreds of General public and party workers from all walks of life actively participated in the Dharna/ road blockade. Vehicles carrying patients and school children were allowed to go.
Addressing the huge gathering Shri Kuldeep Rai Sharma, President, PCC said that the Congress party has taken this extreme step since the NHIDCL has failed to take any action for the repair and maintenance of ATR (NH-223) in spite of earlier agitation by the congress party and persuasion by the Administration. He said that the road named as “Andaman Trunk Road” (ATR) starting from the South most corner Chidiyatappu to North corner at Diglipur having 333 KM with a carriage way of 3.6 Mr wide bituminous road was under the control of APWD. All the maintenance and improvement works were carried out by the APWD despite the ATR road being declared as National Highway-223 during February 2004. However, in a meeting held during July 2016 in the Ministry under the Chairmanship of Hon’ble Minister of RT & H with Shri Bishnu Pada Ray, MP. A & N Islands along with officers of Ministry and A& N islands it was decided that the stretches of National Highways -223 (ATR) be handed over to National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) for undertaking
Rehabilitation and widening whereas the upkeep and maintenance of NH-223 (ATR) be continued by APWD. However, during October, 2016 in accordance with the Notification issued by the GOI the function relating to development / upkeep and maintenance of entire NH-223 (ATR) was also taken over from APWD and handed over to National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL). Shri Kuldeep continued that no works either on maintenance or improvement were taken up by the NHIDCL since taking over NH-223 (ATR) and the condition of the road which connects Port Blair with North and Middle Andaman has became severely damaged. The road has developed innumerous pot holes of large dimensions and the top layer of road washed out at several stretches rendering the so called National Highway (ATR) unsafe for passage of vehicles and passengers. Vehicles of Tour operators, personal vehicles as well as passenger buses have met with many accidents in the battered stretches of ATR. Thousands of national and international tourists visit Baratang, which has emerged as one of the most sought after tourist destination in the islands, daily basis to view the limestone cave, mud volcano and to have unique experience of seeing the dense forest while crossing over this road are subjected worst experience of road travelling. Shri Kuldeep further said that the general public of South Andaman village are facing much difficulties due to the deteriorated condition of the road. Old age persons, patients and the students are the worst sufferers. Shri Kuldeep said that the widening and development of ATR need not be mixed with maintenance and repair of the ATR as later being the continuous process to keep the passage safe for travelling and urged the authorities concerned to act immediately to improve the condition of the road. Shri Kuldeep said that, the Congress party was always in favour of construction, development and maintenance of NH-233 (ATR) by APWD, since being the local department well aware of the topographical situation and limitation of resources available in the Islands. Further, having ATR remaining with APWD generates employment opportunities for the local youths, engineers as well as small & Medium level contractors. Since the entire work has been entrusted to mainland agencies by the NDA Govt. the local youths have been deprived off getting employment. Shri Kuldeep said that he will continue to raise the genuine burning problems of people of these islands and sought their support and cooperation. Shri Kuldeep Rai Sharma, PCC President invited the attention of authorities of NHIDCL, Electricity Department and the Administration towards the present condition of High Tension electric poles existing by the side of the NH-223 (ATR). Due to excavation of earth by NHIDCL for widening and development of the road the poles are in danger condition and may fall any time causing heavy danger to property and human life. He urged the authorities concerned to take immediate steps for re-erecting these electric poles.
The dharna was also addressed by Smti Shanta Singh , Shri Mohd. Safique, Shri Mahadev Majhi, Shri Sanjib Mandal, Shri Subir Chander, Shri Nelson, Smti Saha Mary, Smti Rama Devi, Shri Sanna Rao, Shri Tanmay Mallick and Shri Aziz. All the speakers in their address highlighted the difficulties being faced by the villagers due to the worst condition of the NH-223 (ATR) and demanded immediate action for the repair and maintenance of the existing road. Shri Dilbagh Singh Dhanda, Dy. General Manager, NHIDCl, Port Blair accompanied by other officials senior officials of the Administration met Shri Kuldeep Rai Sharma, other leaders and the general public in the venue of Dharna and after a long discussion assured that repair and maintenance of the road including filling of pit holes with bitumen mixture will be started / commenced by today evening. Shri Kuldeep said that the party will wait for two days and if the NHIDCL fails to start the work within two days the Congress party will sit on dharna again on 02/02/2018.

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