While the Centre is yet to consider Manipur's demand for taking over maintenance of and repairs to National Highway 53, which is in a bad condition, drivers and sections of people are at the job themselves.

People have so far donated over Rs. 30,000 in cash, while the Transporters and Drivers Council (TDC) has transported over 200 truckloads of sand and boulders free of charge.

With more and more people contributing in cash and in kind, the repairs along the 220-km highway will be completed soon, says the TDC.

A TDC spokesperson told TheHindu that it did not matter to the transporters whether the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) or the Manipur Public Works Department maintained NH 53, which is now the only lifeline of the landlocked State. (All along the BRO has been looking after the highway.)

But drivers could not wait indefinitely for repairs to be undertaken at snail's pace, he said.

Though the 68-day Naga blockade of this and NH 39 was suspended on June 18, people are still facing shortage of essential items.

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