DIMAPUR, NOVEMBER 11: Irked by the inaction of the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) to ensure that the two construction firms undertaking the ongoing Dimapur-Kohima 4-lane road project adhere to the contract agreement, opposition NPF has threatened to move for a CBI probe into the delay in completion of the 4-lane project as well as non-fulfillment of other criteria in the contract agreement.
In a letter to the Executive Director (P), NHIDCL, R.O. Kohima, Manmohan Singh Deol, Leader of Opposition (LoP), TR Zeliang regretted that despite writing to the NHIDCL concerning public grievances arising due to the ongoing Dimapur-Kohima 4-lane construction works, no tangible result has emerged.
“As you are aware, Dimapur-Kohima Highway is turning from bad to worse visibly due to the 4-lane road construction works. Despite this stark reality, no concrete measures have been initiated by the two construction firms M/s ECI Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd. and M/s Gayatri Projects Ltd. to ease the enormous hardship being faced by commuters on a daily basis even as both the State Government and NHIDCL continue to remain mute spectators,” he alleged.
Zeliang said as per the contract agreement, the two firms are contractually bound to maintain at its own cost the existing 2-lane of the highway during the construction period. But he claimed that the same has been overlooked.
“Large muddy puddles coupled with landslides and rock-falling occurs during summer and dense dust pollution during winter. Despite the presence of sanction provision for maintenance of the existing 2-lane road, the said firms have failed to comply to the Contract Agreement and given the present condition of the Dimapur-Kohima Highway, NHIDCL must immediately direct the contractors to take up maintenance work as per the Contract Agreement or otherwise lease out such works to local contractors so that the matter is addressed accordingly.”
The LoP recalled that during the tenure of DAN-III Government, both the firms had initially agreed to complete the 4-lane construction within 3 years – 2017-18, 18-19 & 2019-20 and likewise 3% bonus was committed by NHIDCL in the event the two firms complete the work before schedule. “In my presence, assurance was given by the two firms that they would complete the works before the specified period as per the Agreement and on completion of the 4-lane road as per the Agreement, the two firms would maintain the road for 4 years as per Sanction Order and Contract Agreement,” he said.
Zeliang lamented that since then 3 years have lapsed and there is no sign of completing the work even in 2021. “Today, not only is the construction work far from completion but the same has been causing immense difficulty to the general public,” he stated.
Pointing out the formation of large-scale potholes and sinkage in the newly constructed road at several portions, Zeliang said this calls for immediate investigation by NHIDCL on whether contractors are taking up works as per specification including use of certified quality stone-gravels. Furthermore, he said land compensations have been cleared and as such the pace at which the work is progressing calls for urgent attention.
“NHIDCL must clarify its position in the local dailies on the matters raised above along with details of Agreement period including reasons as to why punitive action has not been initiated against M/s ECI Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd. and M/s Gayatri Projects Ltd. till date,” he demanded.
The LoP claimed that since the State Government has the least concern on the hardships faced by commuters in the State, the Governor and the High Court had to intervene. However, he alleged that the contractors under the control of NHIDCL have failed to adhere to such pressure from the highest office of the State including the Guwahati High Court, Kohima Bench.
“As such, if NHIDCL fails to pull up its socks even after this letter, the Opposition Party will be compelled to move for investigation by the CBI because the people of the State should no longer suffer due to default of the implementing agency and appointed Contractors,” warned Zeliang. (Page News Service)