PATACHARKUCHI, July 15 - The delay in the expansion work of National Highway-31, especially in Bajali subdivision of Barpeta district, has led to an alarming increase in road accidents and has caused severe inconvenience to the people.
The construction of the 27.3-km road was started by KMC Construction Ltd., but more than a decade has passed and there has been no sign of completion of the road.
At a high-level meeting convened by the Barpeta district administration last year, exasperated local people, including representatives of various organisations of Bajali subdivision, decided to refrain from taking up any agitational programme.
Another meeting was later held at Pathsala, where KMC Construction tendered a written apology and promised to complete the pending work within December 2018 and construct a bridge at Patacharkuchi before March 2018.
The district administration made it clear that if the company fails this time too, then legal action will be initiated against it.
However, the construction of a bridge over the Kaldia river is still in its initial stages, while an overbridge at Dennatari has still not been completed. As a result, the National Highway sees heavy traffic jams, and vehicles have to wait in the jam for hours.
The portion of NH-31 from Kaljar in Barpeta district to Bezuchi has also not been completed. The road has now become an accident-prone area. The area near Patacharkuchi market opposite the Kaldia river is full of potholes and witnesses accident regularly.
In Patacharkuchi, the construction company did not pay any attention for improving the service roads on both sides of NH-31. The underground passages have also not been constructed properly for which people have to cross the NH-31 disregarding the dangers to their lives.
The drains on both sides of the road also remain incomplete, while no tree has been planted in the middle. Moreover, the constructed portion of the road is not smooth and huge cracks are already seen.
People and organisations of Bajali subdivision have expressed strong resentment following the poor quality work and incomplete construction of the four-lane expansion project on NH-31 between Kaljhar and Bezkuchi.
Though KMC was engaged for construction in 2005, it is alleged that the company did not have adequate infrastructure and manpower for the work.
Due to the poor condition of the road, many accidents have taken place and claimed a number of lives till date.
Various local organisations have launched agitational programmes like road blockades and submitted memorandums to various authorities, though to no avail. A letter by a resident, Pankaj Sarma, to the Prime Minister on December 16, 2015 too failed to elicit any response.
Even MLA Pabindra Deka of Patacharkuchi constituency, along with AGP leaders Hemanta Kumar Roy, Ratul Roy, Gopendra Majumdar and Kamal Sarma, also submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister about the deplorable plight of the road, but no action has been taken till now.