A State too poor to build a Culvert


Having studied Arts, I have no knowledge of civil engineering and particularly road construction technicalities. I only know that when a portion of asphalt carpeted road lasts despite of tear, wear and monsoon rain, I considered it to be of good workmanship and of the result of transparency. I am also perplexed as to how some portions of concrete drainage of our roads are elevated higher than the level of the surface of the road. Did the technical advisers expect the water in those areas flow upward? What technicality is this that water is not allowed to flow by such drainage. When the top layer of an RCC bridge or culvert peels off within short span of its construction, I considered it to be the result of corruption. When asphalt starts peeling off from freshly carpeted road, I considered it to be the direct result of corruption of the Government. Why blame Govt. and not the concerned Department? Because I heard that there used to be percentage deductions for ruling party, for Finance Deptt., for concerned Minister’s share, for NNPGs, for royalty, etc. against every development project. And all those percentage deduction paraphernalia works out to be more than 50% of the total amount sanctioned for that project. Therefore, firstly the contractor is not to be blamed for the reason that no quality workmanship can be expected from any contractor when one is compelled to complete a project with a mere 50% or less of the sanctioned amount. When a road is completed without sufficient number of cross drains, culverts and with no or namesake drainage, I called it to be ‘Naga technical road’. Because our qualified Naga technicians are found to be less bothered about existing specifications for road constructions.
Whereas, many locations in capital Kohima are found to be unstable due to natural loose earth and are therefore landslide prone. Proper channeling of the flow of drainage water and rain water in those unstable locations should be our priority so as to keep our assets, be it public or private, saved from destructions in disasters. Though it is beyond the capability of human to stop earthquake, cyclone, hailstorm and rain, when we take requisite precautions we can even preempt natural disasters to great extent. Whereas, when we ignore such precautions we become responsible for manmade calamities. The better instance is the road block at Sanuoru from town to New Secretariat at the moment.
My question is, what the successive governments have been doing for this portion of road needing a culvert over Sanuoru rivulet. This road is the lifeline for all the activities of Nagaland Govt. as this is the main road leading to NLA, New Secretariat and to several Directorates. Yet, when the old culvert was washed away few years ago, the Govt. has been unable to provide a stronger culvert across the rivulet whereas such daily heavy traffic is made to crawl through rat hole. The Govt. should have constructed a culvert of double lane over it with fund mobilized on priority whatever may be the cost. Because of the Chief Secretary Mr. Temjen Toy who admitted that capital Kohima being placed in disarray is ’embarrassing’ has soothed me to tone down. Otherwise, what Urban Development Department has been doing with its crores for Kohima town all these years. Subject to correction, but I heard that not less than 4 crores of rupees was given specifically for the very purpose of building a culvert at Sanuoru. If so, which department is the nodal authority? Whether tender floated? If so, who is the contractor? If tender is yet to be called, what is the reason for withholding the work? Was this issue raised by any Opposition MLA in any sitting of NLA? If not, why? Is it not the bounden duty of the Opposition bench to raise such issue of public importance? Is Opposition NPF having any inhibition on issues of public interest? As it is, Nagaland Govt. has been incapable of building a pre-requisite culvert in its Capital. Is it not shameful.
We all know that under the global climatic change, weather cannot be predicted. Look at the scenario of natural calamities across the globe. The Govt. must no longer remain complacent and satisfied with its stereotype activities. The landslides destroying houses, roads and fields so far must be an eye opener to present day Govt. Apprehensive that bigger disasters await us in the case of Capital Kohima. Unless the Govt. comes up with comprehensive plan to stabilize the lands with anti-erosion measures for streambeds in particular and landslide prone areas, several localities are already burdened with heavy structures. Because of the unadvisable and overweight structures in unstable location, the poorer section in the neighborhood can be the victims when disaster strikes.
Treatment of those vulnerable areas is therefore imperative. Drainage being integral part of such treatment, private parties encroaching drainage passage or blocking the public drainage should be dealt with iron hand. I have seen private parties used to be stronger than the Govt. in such cases placing the legal authorities at the receiving end. It is time for the legal authorities to enforce law on its citizens judiciously in the interest of the people as a whole.
Z. Lohe

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