The incessant rain since last 20 days in Tripura has made the repair work of National Highway 44 a cumbersome task. What adds to the woes of local populace is that the highway is the sole route which connects the state to the rest of the country.
Reportedly, hundreds of vehicles are marooned on the route as the road has turned to slush. For the last 15 odd days, drivers of these vehicles have no place to go and their food and water supplies have also been exhausted.
Sukhdev Singh, a driver stuck on the highway, told ANI, “fifteen days back I loaded from Hyderabad and got stuck here due to the poor road and there is no sign of any repair. Forget washing and bathing, we do not have water to drink.”
Assam Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal had visited the border road on Thursday to take stock of the situation. Tripura Transport Minister Manik Dey has also lashed out at the Assam government and alleged that the state and central government were not taking the issue seriously. A large area of the NH44 lies in Assam.
Singh also told news agency that he was travelling on the same road since last 15 years but the situation had worsened since last two or three years.
After Tripura government’s request, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari had also tweeted on June 28, “I have instructed officials to work on war footing to fix NH-44 so as to improve connectivity to Tripura.”
This situation has led to a veritable fuel crises in Tripura and people are being forced to wait for around two to three hours on petrol stations to get their vehicle tanks refilled. In the grey market, the petrol is being sold at prices as high as Rs 150 to 200 per litre.
However, repair work is being undertaken despite poor conditions and vehicle movement is gradually resuming.