Roads and Drains
It has become a recurrent feature every monsoon that the pages of all kinds of media in the state is replete with the road conditions of the state. Whether it is blockade due to landslides, potholes, swept away culverts and the recent addition of crumbling bridges there seems to be no easy solution in sight. The vitriolic comments against the government with its various agencies concerned with the construction and the maintenance of the roads and bridges is in equal abundance just as the monsoon rains. Without any reprieve as the people of the state somehow get used to it the monsoon takes a break for its return trip to start. However unless the repair works start immediately after the autumn equinox when the retreating monsoon is almost over, in another month or so it kicks up another a storm much like the dust storms created by vehicles travelling on the unrepaired roads. This cycle continues year after year and unless a change happens it is bound to continue again. A little introspection on the whole state of affairs when it comes to land vis-à-vis infrastructure development in the state has become quite pertinent. The land for development especially roads require revolutionary changes in the state and calls for immediate reforms of the related land laws in the vicinity of infrastructures projects especially roads. This will ensure that the unnecessary interference by the surrounding landowners are avoided when road construction projects are in progress. Then the next keyword is enforcement which has been lacking in the state where communities and landowners with influence are easily able to stop development works. An instance can be the construction of drains which is a necessity for maintenance good quality roads always faces a problem or the other in the state. There are also cases of ever changing course of rivers, streams and storm water drains especially in the plain areas of Dimapur district with some slowly tapering over the years. On the technical aspects it has become a cliché that every discussion of the road durability in the state is blamed on the quality of the stones available. It can be made simple if only there is a political will to stop using the stones from the state and bring high quality granite from other states. It will also put an end to all the illegal quarries near the highways, one of the main causes of landslides and poor road conditions. It will also stop the illegal mining activities of sand and gravel on river beds, the cause of the recent collapse of a bridge in Dimapur. It is ironic that after the ban was imposed on river bed mining since the collapse, it had to be partially opened again for government agencies because there were no stones available for repairing the potholes. On this note, the erstwhile metre gauge trains in the state brought high quality stones to be used for laying the rail sleepers for the present broad gauge rail road and now too it continues to do so for its repairs. The roads in the state can use the same method to transport the stones. It is also time that the Nagaland Quality Control Board needs to be empowered to strictly measure and certify the infrastructure projects especially the road and bridges sector.