Rolling Hills of Nagaland
National Highway 29, the main lifeline connecting Nagaland’s capital city Kohima to its commercial hub Dimapur is currently blocked, the result of massive landslides caused by a combination of road construction work, exploitation of rock formations for human activities, and the onslaught of incessant rains over the past few days. In Nagaland, its rolling hills have taken on a new meaning—travellers on the roads of NH 29 and many other terrains including the affected NH 02 in the Tseminyu area face untold perils from sudden rolling stones, mudslides and other debris cascading down from up above, and an abundance of potholes, and sinking roads on the ground.
The effect of such roads includes inconveniencing commuters in terms of time, energy and effort. From the psychological effects of discomfort and stress, pathological effects such as back pain, and even visual and cardiovascular physiological effects, the bad road conditions have an immense negative impact on the citizens of Nagaland. There is also the issue of undue financial burden to car owners due to increased expenses that must be spent on vehicle maintenance. The risk of car accidents is also heightened as drivers speed to reach their destinations and navigate through potholes and diversions. In times of such blockages essential commodities become more difficult to supply or reach, and prices increase as a result. The public are facing the brunt of the issue.
This issue is not a new one, it is repeated every year and yet we are unable to find a long term, permanent solution to the problem. The public have been bearing inconveniences even before the road blockages had taken place, in the hope of upcoming new and renewed roads. However, it is clear that road projects in the state are taking excessively long and workmanship is questionable to say the least. In order to avoid the repetition of this menace, knowledge of the local topography must be a prerequisite for any contractor who undertakes work on Nagaland roads. Road-cutting designs need to change; terracing will help stabilise the land but proper road rebuilding will require the government to apportion larger land plots for wider and safer roads. Sinking areas are mainly due to erosion downhill and money needs to be dedicated to researching the fragility of Nagaland’s young soil. It’s high time to renew our efforts as Nagaland’s roads are burdening not only the state but also many states connecting to it and beyond it.