Order of the High Court of Meghalaya regarding the pitiable condition of the APMT road, Meghalaya, 10/07/2023
Order of the High Court of Meghalaya in the matter of A H Hazarika Vs State of Meghalaya & Others dated 10/07/2023.
The petitioner, A H Hazarika said that despite the previous order of the High Court requiring immediate repair work to be undertaken for the 9 km stretch between km 33 and km 41 nothing concrete have been done and potholes have developed which has seriously affected the movement of the traffic along the stretch. When it comes to another stretch (67 to 100 km) of the Agia – Medhipara – Phulbari – Tura (AMPT) road, eventhough levelling had been completed, the petitioner says that there is massive waterlogging along large stretches which have completely eroded the 'blacktop' and is making it difficult for trucks and almost impossible for smaller vehicles to navigate such stretches.
The AMPT Road is an arterial road of great importance and the road has to be in top condition "without excuses such as rain being cited to explain away its pitiable condition," the order said.
The High Court directed the state PWD (roads) to look into the matter and instead of spending over and over again for patch work or repair work, should undertake a complete overhauling of the road, so that it can cater to increased pressure, once the the bridge across the Brahmaputra from Dhubri to Phulbari gets completed.
Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Sanjib Banerjee suggested that the state PWD (Roads) should "consult with NHAI or its arm, the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited, and, possibly, seek funds from the North Eastern Council for the strengthening, widening and year-round maintenance of the AMPT Road as a part of the extension of the Dhubri to Phulbari flyover".
The judges expressed concern that despite the known fact that Meghalaya is one of the wettest places in the world, "the same excuse of rain is given by the state or other authorities to justify the poor conditions of some of the roads. Indeed, there are several other roads in the state which can endure the monsoon and remain unaffected by the heavy rains".
The High Court directed the state PWD (Roads) to take the requisite steps at the earliest and file a report as to the measures taken "including how the road should be some four for five years from today". In the meantime, the potholes along the stretches should be filled up temporarily so as to make the road more accessible to lesser vehicles, the order added.