Nature’s way of telling us something is wrong
DIMAPUR, SEPTEMBER 11
THE story behind the collapse of the bridge between Purana Bazaar and Darogajan village, connecting the remaining 50-60 Naga villages located beyond Darogajan, on September 10 last appears to be more than just a handiwork of the inscrutable rain gods.Soil erosion had a role in the collapse of the bridge but there is more than meets the eye. The collapse of the bridge is rooted in story of neglect and apathy, Back in the sepia-tinted days of the 1990s, the river on which the bridge had collapsed on Tuesday last, was nothing more than a ‘nullah’.
A culvert pipe was enough, back then to contain and direct the flow of rain water.
Somewhere down the years, a big flood hit the area and washed the culvert. Chairman of Darogajan village council, Vitokhu Achumi told Eastern Mirror that “a private wooden bridge” was built soon after the big flood.
The wooden bridge was used by the villagers for at least 4-5 years, during which requests to the government to build a bridge were not responded to, according to the chairman. Finally the “elders of the area” decided to collect money among the surrounding villages and asked some “brick owners” to build the bridge. It was in the year 1995.
Over the years, and more recently in 2009-10 and 2010-11, the villagers had submitted requests to the government to construct a bridge over the “river.” Back in 1995 when the villagers had constructed the wooden bridge, the “river” was not yet that “big”, according to Vitokhu Achumi.
During the same period of time, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) had started a plan to build a proper drainage from the airport till downstream Dhansiri. Darogajan villagers were also among those who were paid land compensations for the same project.
And yet, the drainage was never built. Or rather it never reached the village. “They have abandoned the project after they reached Padampukhuri,” Achumi said.
Coupled with this, Achumi pointed out, the “development works” carried out in the areas covering Sugar Mill, Padampukhuri, 3rd Mile and 4th Mile have caused rain water wreak havoc in the poorly equipped villages downstream, including Darogajan.
Without a proper drainage, what was once a narrow and shallow nullah in the ‘90s, has been morphed into a “river” now. And the bridge, constructed over a “nullah” in 1995, was bound to collapse in the face of sustained assault from nature, Achumi lamented.
The collapse of the bridge has also forced vehicles, except for two-wheelers, to add another 12-13 kms lto their mileage on the diversion road via Tolovi village and to Padampukhuri’ all for a breakdown which measures hardly 25 feet in length. But at least there is a silver lining.
Following the collapse of the bridge on Tuesday last, PWD officials along with Dimapur administration led by Deputy Commissioner, N Hushili Sema visited the site and met the council chairmen of the nine surrounding villages.
DC Dimapur, N Hushili Sema told Eastern Mirror on Wednesday evening that the PWD officials, led by Er K Rio, were “very keen” to construct a temporary wooden bridge. “It will be built a little bit downstream and most probably, they will start the works tomorrow,” she said.
The DC quoted a PWD official saying that the department has sent a proposal to the state government to construct a bridge over the “river”, earlier this year. “I told him to at least remind his department to take it (the proposal) up on priority basis,” the DC said. Repeated calls made to Er K Rio went unanswered and unreturned.