Farmers movement poses problems for NHAI, delays highway projects

New Delhi, Mar 2 (IANS): With the farmers' protest continuing at the Ghazipur Border on National Highway 24, it is turning into a nuisance for the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). Officials say the completion of some projects has been hit. Also, the maintenance of the highway is also being affected.

In fact, with the farmers pitching their tents on the highway, there is an accumulation of garbage and filth on it. Even as the farmers do the cleaning, anchoring the tents on the highway has led to oil-like sticky deposits being seen on the highway.

Talking to IANS on the issue, an official from the National Highways Authority of India, who wasn't able to visit the highway owing to the agitation and blockades said, "The highway projects are stalled due to the farmers ' agitation. Some signboards and cameras are yet to be installed while some advanced technology was to be deployed on the highway. All these are now delayed."

According to the official, the biggest challenge before them will emerge after the route is opened and normal traffic resumes. "It will be difficult to resolve all the problems with the heavy traffic on the highway."

The official further said: "At present, our employees cannot enter the area as every farmer perceives them with suspicion. Some material from outside is yet to arrive. Since routes are closed cost of transporting material also goes up."

Clearly, the agitation is affecting everyday maintenance activity besides construction on the highway.

"Garbage and filth are being dumped on the highway itself. Also, passers-by are experiencing enormous problems," added the official.

He further added, "If the road is damaged tomorrow, the state Government has to pay for it. Apart from that, there are complaints from the people that the highway is closed."

Farmers have been protesting on various borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the three newly enacted farm laws.



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