Guwahati, June 16: The stretch of the serpentine highway that connects Jowai in East Jain Hills of Meghalaya to Silchar in South Assam is a picturesque drive that demands skill and alertness on part of the driver as is the case with any other road traversing through hills.
However, during the rainy days travelling through the stretch of the highway sometimes becomes extremely hazardous given its vulnerability to landslides and sudden erosion of the road because of flashfloods caused by heavy rainfall.
Often news about landslides, caving in of portion of the highway as well as bridges getting damaged under the heavyweight of loaded trucks passing over those hog the headlines given the importance of this highway that caters to South Assam, Tripura and Mizoram.
There have been allegations from several quarters that trucks carrying raw materials to cement factories located in the area and trucks carrying cements from those factories are more often than not are overloaded flouting the permitted load limit of 40 MT per truck. Though only double axle trucks are allowed to operate on the road carrying maximum weight up to 40 MT, the vehicles often carry much more than 40 MT per truck and up to 55-60 MT using triple axles even 4-axles flouting norms.
As everyone in the concerned enforcement agencies in the state of Meghalaya choose to keep a blind eye to this gross anomaly, the highway is made to bear the brunt of these overloaded vehicles and it sometimes gives away under the heavyweights of these trucks especially during the rainy season when the rapids come down with force from the hills by the road exert tremendous pressure on this stretch of already under-stress highway. Lives are definitely in peril while travelling through this stretch of the highway. But who will bell the cat?