Angul: Filled with potholes and dust with raw materials scattered on both sides, the partially repaired stretch of National Highway No. 55 between Manguli and Angul has turned a death trap for commuters.
Locals claimed that so far five commuters have lost their lives on the stretch due to accidents in the last two months while minor accidents have become a daily affair.
They alleged that the entire stretch of road has been damaged during the delayed construction which is being carried out under the pretext of expansions. The dust filled road with craters poses a threat to the lives of hundreds of commuters who use it on regular basis to travel, they said.
RTI activist Srikant Patala alleged that the contract for the project had been awarded to a firm, Gayatri Projects, for Rs 583 crores in February 2019.
“Eighteen months have passed since then, but not even 30 % of the constructions have been completed. The construction firm didn’t even bother to provide service roads, as a result of which commuters have to negotiate the dangerous road by risking their lives, Patala said, adding that the firm has not given a single penny as compensation to the next of the kin of the people who have lost their lives to the accidents so far.”
“My son lost his life when a truck hit his bike while he was crossing the road and my life has become miserable since then. I lost the only earning member of my family. I urge the district administration to take immediate steps for the repairing of the road,” said Rabindra Maharana, a local resident.
Sources said that resentment is brewing among local residents over the delay in the construction work. Though the Choudwar Jagarana Mancha, a social outfit, had staged protests on several occasions against the indifferent attitude of the district administration, nothing has been done to address the problems faced by people every day. The organisation has warned to intensify their agitation if immediate steps were not taken for the repairing of the road.
Reaction from the district administration is still awaited.