Students Federation opposes new proposed alignment of Tamengong-Halflong highway

While noting that the Tamenglong-Haflong highway has been people’s dream and aspiration, it lamented that the sudden change in the alignment and the shifting of starting point from Old Tamenglong just before the fruition of the project amounts to utter disregard for the sacrifices made by the people of Tamenglong.

 

Tamenglong Village (Inrriangluang) Students Federation (TVSF) has opposed the new proposed alignment of Tamenglong-Halflong highway and demanded that the starting point (0 point) of the highway should be at old Tamenglong as previously agreed under ‘Gupta Alignment’ since the initiation of the project.

A letter submitted to the chief secretary of Manipur by TVSF stated that the construction of the highway along the new alignment proposed by district administration is opposed by many villages. “Inactions in regard to the aspirations and demand shall attract mass democratic agitations, for which the TVSF will not be held responsible in case of any eventualities,” it cautioned.

It said that Tamenglong village along with other villages have given No Objection Certificate (NOC) for compensation with the idea that the highway will bring connectivity.

However, as per the new proposed alignment, the highway skins through the villages without crossing through intended areas. Since 1990s, two alignments have been proposed and taken up for the said highway.

Besides, a vast amount of cultivable lands, farms and forests have been destroyed in the course of work carried out for the two alignments. It amounts to further deterioration of the environment and loss of cultivable land to take up mud culling and moving in a totally new alignment, it stated.

Further stressing that the old alignment should be followed, it contended that the district administration in its defence for the new alignment stated that the starting point and the ending point of a National Highway have to be connected to a National Highway.

“The claim of the district administration is flimsy excuse since there are no such regulations in relation to the construction of national highway,” it added.

It also demanded the implementing agency to come out with a clarification regarding the issue.

While noting that the Tamenglong-Haflong highway has been people’s dream and aspiration, it lamented that the sudden change in the alignment and the shifting of starting point from Old Tamenglong just before the fruition of the project amounts to utter disregard for the sacrifices made by the people of Tamenglong.

The district administration sought NOC from the villages on the ground that the highway will not pass through the respective villages if an NOC is not given by the respective village authority. However, on issuance of the NOC by the villages in good faith and trust that the old alignment i.e. ‘Gupta Alignment’ will be followed, the district administration proposed and forced upon a new alignment, it contended.

Clarifying that the locals are not against government developmental project, it cautioned that they will not allow even an inch of land to be touched by the project if the construction of the highway proceeds along the new proposed alignment.

The new alignment as proposed by the district administration had been rejected back in 1990s by the Border Roads Task Force (BRTF) and the work was abandoned as the gradient was not suitable for the construction of a highway. If the Tamenglong-Haflong highway is constructed along Gupta Alignment with the starting point at Old Tamenglong, it will be the most feasible alignment for more than 22 villages in relation to trade, commerce and tourism, the letter stated.

It further said that the highway along the Old Alignment will also serve as a route to the Zeilad Lake and the Ahu Klunduang (Barak Waterfall) which are not fully developed to its full potential due to lack of proper road and connectivity. The Old Tamenglong (Tamenglong Village) had been a cultural and an administrative hub since the days of the British Rule. The people of Tamenglong have been selflessly donating land and properties for administrative offices and the use of administrative purpose from the colonial times to this present day, it added.

It maintained that the first two previous alignments had severely destroyed and damaged public properties without adequate compensation. The new alignment proposed by the district administration is against the will of the people and shall be effectively opposed if it proceeds, it reiterated.

It further contended that the new alignment totally neglected the Rongmei speaking villages intended to be connected as per the Gupta Alignment and added that development should not be politicised. 

ALSO READ: Saramba Segment Voice appeals to review Tamenglong-Haflong road alignment

First Published:Nov. 13, 2020, 11:37 p.m.

Leave a comment