The much-needed boost to infrastructure in Garo Hills, through National Highway 51 en route to Dalu from Tura, has shown progress, though, for some, it still seems too slow.
The project, contracted to one Monoranjan Brahma through the National Highways Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL), began in November 2018, though there were initial teething problems. The company is headquartered in Kokrajhar in Assam with the road being constructed as a proprietorship with NHIDCL.
The total stretch of road contracted to Brahma is 54 kilometres. While 44km of the road lies between Tura and Dalu, another 10km from Tura to Rongram is yet to take off due to land acquisition issues.
“While the initial construction started in November 2018, there were a lot of issues with land acquisition, which slowed us down by almost a year. We only started serious construction on the road from the end of 2019. We are hopeful of finishing the work by March 2022,” said site construction manager, Samarjit Borah.
Currently, a stretch of 12km of the road, between the outskirts of Tura to 12th Mile has been blacktopped, with some stretches yet to be touched. Travelling on the latter is still a back-breaking exercise.
While there may have been teething issues earlier, the road itself is coming up and is expected to ease the problems that had been faced by residents while travelling between these two important towns of Garo Hills. While Tura is the nerve centre of the region, Dalu is fast becoming an export-import hub, being close to the international border with Bangladesh.
The entire highway, as has been confirmed, will be a two-lane road and will also connect to NH-62. The entire stretch has already been renamed NH-217.
The stretch of road from Rongram to Paikan is also in the pipeline for re-laying, though the project has been contracted to a different construction company, as was confirmed by NHIDCL sources.
“We are still not sure of whether the same stretch of road will be redone or the route will be different as the DPR (Detailed Project Report) is being finalized. However, things are moving in the right direction and we expect work to start by the year-end on the Rongram-Paikan stretch,” said the NHIDCL source.
Meanwhile, work on the Baghmara-Ranikor road has also begun in earnest, with land being cleared for the laying of a two-lane road.
However the NH-62, between Karongre to Dudhnoi, a stretch of more than 150km is yet to be cleared, though initial surveys were earlier undertaken. Sources could also not confirm if there was anything in the pipeline for the road, which is amongst the worst in the Garo Hills region.