Meghalaya HC directs Govt, NHAI to address problems on NH-6

July 20, 2023 by MT Bureau

Staff Reporter

Shillong, July 19: The Meghalaya High Court today directed the State and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to file further reports with regards to the Jowai to Ratacherra stretch of the National Highway-6 within four weeks.

“Both the State and the NHAI will file further reports when the matter appears next four weeks hence,” the Division Bench said in its order after hearing a PIL filed by Kynjaimon Amse.

It also directed the State to convene a meeting with the representatives of the NHAI and the local administration to address the particular problems pertaining to the Jowai -Ratacherra stretch of NH-6.

The petitioner had pointed out that the report filed by the NHAI indicates certain man-made problems which ought to be addressed by the State.

For instance, car wash outlets have sprung up along the State and national highways in the State without any drainage system or any parameters apparently being put in place in such regard. As a result, the water from such car wash places run down the highways or form puddles at places causing additional damage than what the monsoon rains may cause.

The NHAI in its report also indicated that the haphazard laying of pipelines along the side of the Jowai to Ratacherra stretch has resulted in leaks in several places which add to the woes of accumulated water and erosion of the blacktop.

These and several of the other issues raised in the NHAI report must be addressed by the local administration and some parameters put in place for car wash units to adhere to, including payment of license fees or the like.

Regarding the Jowai bypass, the Bench has directed that the repair works be completed within this month.

“It is hoped that the balance repair work is completed within this month and extra care is taken to undertake patchwork, wherever necessary, for the remainder of the monsoon season to ensure that the colossal waste of vehicles needing to travel the extra 30 km or so by avoiding the bypass is no longer necessary,” it said.

It said that the real problem pertains to a 7-km stretch which is virtually unmotorable at the moment and is known as the Jowai Bypass that links Thadlaskein to Mihmyntdu and vehicles intending to go to the Khliehriat side without stopping at Jowai take such bypass to avoid the urban congestion in Jowai.

Though the rest of NH -6 is maintained by the NHAI, the roughly 7-km stretch of the Jowai Bypass is maintained by PWD (Roads) and such stretch is in a pitiable condition and the state of the road is such that heavy vehicles suffer serious breakdowns and lesser vehicles these days take the longer route through Jowai than hazard the risk of taking the bypass.

Earlier, the State had submitted that the heavy rains in the month of June, 2023 did not allow the repair work that had been undertaken prior thereto to settle down and washed away the blacktop.

According to the State, the same contractor is undertaking the repair work and the same should be completed within a reasonable time.

The Bench however said that almost half the monsoon season is over and during such period the bypass has well-nigh remained unmotorable.

As indicated earlier, road construction or repair works have to take into account the heavy rains here in the monsoon and it will not pass an excuse to suggest that because of the monsoon or a few spells of heavy rain, the road has been damaged to the extent that it has been, it added.