Monday, January 30, 2023

Game of ‘Dog and the Bone:’ The bone is Pardih-Dimna Chowk stretch of NH 33

BJP, BJM, Cong vying for credit for starting repair work on neglected stretch

Mail News Service

Jamshedpur, Nov 5: It is indeed the prerogative of a democracy that the citizens get to choose their representatives for the domains of state power and the centre. That calls for selecting the right parties and party persons to provide development, civic amenities and fundamental rights. The perennial poll scenarios, political holler and miles of election manifestos with promises of all that have been asked for by the deprived electorate and more rule the roost of political excitement. But, in recent times, citizens just vote without expecting much for a particular type of democracy has also taught people to face disappointment in a manner of chewing stone chips with boiled rice.

There is a deluge of persisting problems that has found mentions in umpteen election manifestos umpteen times and yet the square root of one continues to remain as many as the political warlords deem it feet to discern. It is futile to come to a logical calculation of square roots where a square peg has not been known to fit into a round hole.

The square and round of it all has been that (in)famous stretch of NH 33 between Pardih Kali Mandir and Dimna Chowk where heavily laden trucks, sleek SUVs crunch and groan over a million holes leaving in their wake belching dust that become a cause of health concern. Two-wheeler riders may or may not have met their Waterloo on this moon surface but incidents of daily accidents have failed to move the authorities that be including the sahibs of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). The bidders and contractors play second fiddle in this game of ‘all talk-no show.’

The stretch in contention incidentally is the bone of contention over which the common man gulping dust and the political leaders, have been fighting to give this obnoxious part of NH 33 a look of safe decency. BJP leader Vikas Singh had been agitating for repair of the Pardih-Dimna Chowk link of the National Highway since a long time as had been former Chief Minister Raghubar Das and Jamshedpur parliamentarian Bidyut Baran Mahto. Both Das and Mahto realized the problems of commuters on this death trap and left no stone unturned to bring about sighs of relief. In fact, Bidyut Baran Mahto had seen and written stacks of letters to Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari for getting the road repaired but contretemps in some form or the other cropped up to let the issue lie like all the dead in their graves or wherever.

Call it a quirk of fate or what one may, things took a magical turn on late Wednesday night when NHAI people were seen sprinkling water on the otherwise dust-riddled stretch of tattered highway. The indefatigable BJP man Vikas Singh stood his ground and the NHAI officials promised and pledged that the repair work of the road would be completed within two months and all the holes would be filled, plugged and ‘ironed out’ for smooth traffic flow sans the dust storms. Hardly had Vikas heaved a sigh of relief and the workers started their noble jobs when Thursday loomed and in marched an army of Bharatiya Janata Morcha (BJM) leaders shouting slogans in appreciation for independent legislator from East Jamshedpur constituency, Saryu Roy, who they claimed, was instrumental in getting the mess repaired. Then came leader Saryu Roy and in his address from the Big Bazaar rampart to whoever cared to listen warned the NHAI bosses and workers that if the long groaning, moaning NH 33 length of road from Pardih Kali Mandir to Dimna Chowk was not repaired by Chhat festival, they should be prepared to face the repercussions. This firebrand speech was perhaps the required stimulus that saw bitumen being poured over the leveled portion of the road to add to the cheer of the BJM cheer leaders who shouted that it was the victory of their leader, independent legislator Saryu Roy.

No sooner had Roy ended his fiery powwow then in came the Congress brigade the members of which started distributing sweets in jubilation claiming that it was the fear imposed by their leader and Jharkhand Health Minister Banna Gupta that men had been put on the job and the Highway was on the way to regain its lost pink which in any case had not been there in the first place since the formation of Jharkhand 20 years ago.

But the silently suffering common folks especially those residing in colonies on either side of the ‘offensive’ part of NH 33 after watching the political circus just commented that now that the road construction has got underway and tar coating is being given on the surface, let the three political parties (BJP, BJM, Congress) join shoulders and see to the widening of this road. Of course, as usual, they said so without hoping for anything constructive.

Finally, coming to the technicalities, the Tata-Ranchi stretch of NH 33 repair work saw the calling of tenders for the work in three parts, Bundu-Ranchi, Galudih-Baharagora and Tata to Galudih. While the former two stretches were completed the last stretch languished due to, what NHAI authorities said funds crunch. BJP leader Vikas Singh had marched to the DC’s office with his team to seek sanction of the required funds but the matter remained under the proverbial torn umbrella.

Well, work has commenced. The redeemed stretch of NH 33 is in for better days but how many days is unpredictable. But it is always prudent to make hay while the sun shines. Let them play ‘Dog and the Bone’ as long as it is not the highway-farers’ bones.

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