Brakes on traffic

Farmers, villagers and social activists on Wednesday paralysed traffic on the 45-km stretch of National Highway-80 from Bhagalpur to Pirpainty in protest against its dilapidated condition.

Hundreds of trucks and other vehicles remained stranded along the NH-80 from Bhagalpur to Sabour, as the residents staged blockades at five strategic intersections of the arterial road.

Till last report came in, traffic from Bhagalpur towards further east via Sabour, Ghogha, Ekchari, Kahalgaon and Pirpainty remained crippled.

The worst sufferers were travellers between Bhagalpur and Pirpainty, but they did not complain against the blockade. "We have to take maximum risk while travelling along NH-80. But today's disruption was essential to send a message to the government," said Subir Sen, a private school teacher in Kahalgaon, who has to travel between Bhagalpur and Kahalgaon everyday.

"Parts of my autorickshaw are frequently damaged because of the road condition. Today, I earned nothing because of the bandh. But such protests are essential to raise voice against ineffective governance," said Mohammed Irfan, an auto driver along the Bhagalpur-Ghogha route.

Fomer Assembly Speaker and Congress MLA from Kahalgaon Sadanand Singh said: "Chief minister Nitish Kumar claims that a person can reach Patna from any part of the state within six hours. But, it takes nearly three hours to cover 31km between Bhagalpur from Kahalgaon on the highway."

A senior officer of National Highways Authority of India's Bhagalpur division admitted that the entire stretch from Munger to Pirpainty was "very bad", but the condition of the 45km stretch between Bhagalpur and Pirpainty was "dangerous".

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