BARPETA, May 3 - In stark contrast to the oft-repeated tall claims of all-round development by the government, the condition of some important roads in Barpeta district reflect just the opposite picture.
Dr Jinaram Road in Barpeta district is one such example of gross negligence shown by the government towards surface connectivity in this backward district. This road connects Sarthebari and Pathsala via Rampur, Bangaon and Dubi covering a distance of about 23 kms under Patacharkuchi and Sarukshetri Assembly constituencies of Barpeta district. It is the shortest route between these two important towns of Barpeta district.
Due to the geographic, demographic, cultural and linguistic assimilation, people of Pathsala and Sarthebari areas have been maintaining a very cordial relation for years together. People of both the areas are dependent on each other as far as education and the economy are concerned.
Since the establishment of Bajali College, guardians of Sarukshetri and Paka Mouza in Barpeta district have been directing their wards to pursue higher education in the college. Moreover, with the establishment of a number of other educational institutions, Pathsala has become an educational hub of late. Due to lack of proper educational institutions, students of Sarthebari area have to depend on Pathsala to pursue post-matric courses.
Pathsala Railway Station is one of the nearest railway stations after Tihu in Nalbari district for the people of Sarthebari area inhabiting Sarukshetri Mouza, while it is the only station for the people of Paka Mouza. National Highway-31 is also easily accessible via this road for the commuters. Thousands of people have to visit Pathsala, the headquarter of Bajali sub-division for education, rail journey and marketing.
Likewise, people living in Pathsala or its adjoining localities under Bajali and Salbari sub-divisions have to visit Sarthebari and Bahari areas for one or the other reason.
Not to speak of Sarukshetri or Paka Mouza alone in Barpeta sub-division, but a considerable section of people living in Tihu Dekhata and Sariha Mouza under Bajali sub-division also have to travel through a portion of this road to reach different destinations.
But the deplorable condition of the Dr Jinaram Road connecting Pathsala with Sarthebari has made life miserable for the people of eastern part of Barpeta district as a whole. This important road has been closed to heavy and medium traffic for several years on the plea that the bridge over Tihu river at Batia has broken down. Instead of repairing the bridge, the PWD has limited its duty and responsibility by hanging �Road Closed� signs in two spots on either side of this bridge.
Seeing no alternative, the tax-paying public travel by light vehicles, motorbikes and cycles. But deep potholes on the road have often become a hindrance for the drivers. With the advent of the monsoon season, these potholes have been filled up with rainwater, thus making it impossible for the drivers to guess the depth. Some commuters are often seen stranded on the road.
The people of this area since a long time have been demanding reconstruction of the road to make it traffic-friendly. But it is yet to be understood why the PWD has not heeded this genuine demand of the people!
People of Sarthebari submitted a memorandum to State PWD Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma during his visit to Sarthebari on January 22 last. The memorandum demanded improvement of all the roads connecting Sarthebari. In the course of his speech at the open meeting in the historic Jagannath Temple that day, Dr Sarma stated that he will consider parallel improvement of other roads in consultation with officials of the department.
It is on record that he assured that the Dr Jinaram Road will witness a new look under the ambitious project titled Asom Mala. Whether the statement of the Minister was hollow cannot be ascertained as of now, but the condition of the road has worsened manifold just after four months of the Minister�s visit.
The unfortunate fact for the people of the area is that the alternative route to Pathsala via Parahkuchi, the Tihu Lachima Road is also in a deplorable state. Due to this, people are forced to embark on a hazardous bone-jarring journey to reach either Tihu or Pathsala.