Post Mortem

Memorandum to PM of India on for lane road NH-29 (NH-39)/NH-2

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 10/1/2020 1:02:14 PM IST

 Hon’ble Sir,

Warmest Greetings from the Office of the Southern Angami Public Organisation (SAPO).

We, the undersigned have the honour to submit this humble petition before you for your kind perusal and immediate intervention please. For the sake of clarity and brevity, we present our plea under the following sub-headings:

A Historical Road with a vision towards the “Look East /Act East Policy” endorsed by the then President of India:

Hon’ble Sir, during the auspicious visit of the then President of India, Late Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam to Khuzama Village, Nagaland in 2002, a memorandum was submitted to him by JAPO-Japfuphiki Angami Public Organisation (now SAPO-Southern Angami Public Organisation) for development of four lane road within the existing NH-29 (erstwhile NH-39)/NH-2 to which it has been acknowledged and endorsed to the department of DONER by the President’s Secretariat Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. As directed by the Ministry, a survey had already been carried out earlier for the construction of 4-lane road. (Enclosed Annexure - 1 & 2).

However, the matter was delayed and kept pending for reasons best known to the concerned authority.

Subsequently, Shri Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and MSMEs Govt. of India in his recent video conference on 17th August 2020 had officially accorded the approval of 4-lanning project against NH- 29 (erstwhile NH-39)/ NH-2 from Kohima to Imphal road with an estimated cost of Rs. 2663 Crore, which is widely circulated and published in News Print. (Annexure enclosed 3, 4, 5 & 6).

While we are grateful for the “Look East Policy” which was launched in 1991 to focus our attention  towards the northeast, we are indebted to your Government for transforming that vision into action through the “Act East Policy” and as a result of which the present four lane highway is being approved and sanctioned, and which will play a vital role towards the fulfilment of the “Act East Policy”.

The downgrade of the four lane road to two lane:

That Sir, much to our discouragement and dismay, a segment of the four-lane road project between Kohima – Imphal NH-29 (erstwhile NH-39) /NH-2 has been downgraded from the approved original plan under the directive of MoRTH, Govt of India , NHIDCL and Govt. of Nagaland, citing unreasonable technical difficulties. Whereas, the topography of Manipur and Nagaland foothills are similar in nature in almost every aspect  and therefore, to alter and downgrade the project of Kohima – Mao/ Tadubi (Manipur) which is a mere stretch of 38.9 Kms, is not only a wrongful deviation from the approved original plan of four lane but also a betrayal of the hope and aspirations of the people of the region.

Presently, it is observed that the implementing agency namely the NHIDCL is going ahead with 4-lanning road from Dimapur to Kohima in Nagaland and Tadubi to Imphal in Manipur, leaving aside Kohima to Tadubi sector and downgrading it to two lane only which is in contravention to the earlier agreed position of four lane.

That Sir, the talks to resolve the matter with regard to the project had failed to materialize among the parties of MORTH, Govt of India, NHIDCL, Government of Nagaland and SAPO, and we have exhausted all other means for redressal of this project despite our best effort, good intentions and despite serving repeated appeals and reminders to the Govt. of Nagaland, with copies endorsed to the concerned Ministry. For that reason, we are compelled to write this letter with great hope and expectation that you will intervene in this matter personally. (Annexure enclosed 7 & 8)

The significance of the Historical NH-29 (erstwhile NH-39) /NH-2: Kohima – Imphal Road:

It is pertinent to mention that this stretch of Inter-State Highway connecting Manipur and Nagaland is a significant route constructed since time immemorial, which connects India to South East Asian countries, and serves as a catalyst to the “Act East Policy”. Significantly, within our Southern Angami region, two major Army cantonments namely Zakhama & Chakhabama are located having to depend on this National Highway for its movements and strategic plan of the Indian Armed Forces. Furthermore, the land for the existing road was donated by the landowner free of cost for the purpose of connectivity during the earlier part of the 19TH century.

The villagers from the neighbouring 13 villages within SAPO area initially constructed the footpath connecting Kohima to Manipur’s first village, Mao. After the British Army expedition, it was gradually developed into bullock cart and horse cart road for the convenience of communication and movement between Kohima and Imphal. During the World War-II, the British Government modified the road into a motorable road. One of the fiercest and the most memorable battles with the highest number of casualties took place on this road during the 2nd World War. As such, it is remembered to this day by the world as the ‘Battle of Kohima’ or in Lord Mountbatten’s words, “one of the greatest battles in history”, took place on this very road. Also, the Japanese Government, in commemoration of its slain soldiers, a World War–II Museum was constructed beside the said road at Kisama. This road which is the shortest route to Southeast Asia has emerged as one of the most frequented road because of its appeal to domestic and international tourist on this road. Further, on 30th March 1953 former Prime Minister Nehru, accompanied by the then Burmese Premier U Nu, had travelled on this road from Manipur - Kohima. 

The 13 villages of SAPO declared the road as ‘ecology road’ for its strategic location between the cultivated fields and that of Japfü Mountain (2nd highest mountain in Nagaland) and Dzükou valley (The Paradise on Earth) during the early 20th century. The preserved virgin forest and mountains within the vicinity of this area as envisaged by our ancestors, “still has a rich array of natural flora and fauna and medicinal plants”. More importantly, besides its role in Socio-economic development, this area produces one of the best and highest amounts of fresh water for various purposes including the water supply to the capital city, Kohima.

Today, with minor maintenance service by the Indian Government, this historic road has become the main lifeline for the States of Nagaland and Manipur. Keeping in mind of its importance, the then President of India physically visited Khuzama Village, which is the last village of Nagaland bordering with Manipur and had given assent to convert the British Road into four lane road from Kohima to Manipur. In Nagaland, this road is the first of its kind, catering to the highest vehicular movement and highest density of rural and semi-rural populace over a stretch of 38.9 Kms.

An earnest prayer and an Appeal:

Having placed the matter in your proficient office, we therefore, fervently beseech your kind authority to look into our petition and reconsider the earlier Central Ministry’s directive, keeping in mind the “Act East Policy” and vision and also fulfilling the dream and vision of the then President, Late Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam who is considered as one of the finest and most dynamic leader of our era.

In the light of this, we shall be immensely grateful to your able and dynamic leadership, if you will reconsider the original and the first survey proposal for 4-Lanning within this existing Road NH-29(erstwhile NH-39)/NH-2. Kohima – Imphal road.

It is our sincere belief that under your visionary leadership, a far more sustainable and viable road with the objectives to promote the productivity of the stakeholders, land use, and also that the road will emerge as a National asset to India and its International interest in conformity with the vision of “Act East Policy” as well.

In upholding the commitment of Late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the then His Excellency, The President of India and to implement it in letter and spirit ; it is also our sincere appeal that the visionary plan and actions of our leaders, to allow the construction of the four lane road within the existing NH-29 (erstwhile NH-39)/NH-2, be made a reality.

Thanking you with great hope for your kind and favourable intervention, most beloved Hon’ble Prime Minister Sir.

SAPO President Vimezhol Theyo and General Secretary, Mhalie Lüho

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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