Incomplete projects

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It is unfortunate that the Multi-Discipline Sports Centre (MDSC) in Dimapur is yet to be completed even after 12 years after the project started in 2006. The project was supposed to have been completed in three years, but it had lingered out due to total apathy of the State Government. Consider how much talents have been wasted over the years which could have been groomed in the MDSC had it meet its completion deadline. This also brings to light how little importance our leaders and government is giving to games and sports, despite their high pitch rhetoric on harnessing the talents of our youths. But it is not only the MDSC that has not meet its completion schedule, as there are numerous centrally and state funded projects in Nagaland that is yet to see its completion. Indeed we are used to reading about the failures and breakdowns in the progress of various projects in the State. Therefore, whenever we are told that such and such a projects have been completed on time or is about to be completed, it gives satisfaction that the State is on the path of progress. Unfortunately, the most important thing in regard to the development projects in hand is the recurring complaint of these projects not being completed in time leading to escalation in cost. For years now, if not decades, our Government has been in the habit of making loud and sensational announcements when any new scheme is about to be launched. But when the schemes thus announced are to be translated into practice on the ground they pull a flake. Non-completion of numerous projects within the given time frame is one of the recurring problems with our administration. This problem does not persist with any particular department; it engulfs almost all developmental activity in the State. There seems little rationale for bringing the onus of delayed completion of projects either to the doorsteps of the engineers in charge and their associated staff or to the higher ups who are closely linked to developmental activities in the State. In the first place there is the highly complicated bureaucracy and paperwork that long delays in processing the cases become somewhat inherent in the system. It takes weeks and months to move a file from one table to the other. Secondly, work culture has not been made smooth among non-skilled workers. It tells upon efficiency and output. A large part of our labour force comprises labourers from outside the State who are less acclimatised to weather conditions and local environs. The contractors generally are bad paymasters and delaying the wages of the daily workers is a negative point in speedy completion of the project. Many projects need constructional material that has to be brought in from other parts of the country. Transportation of such materials especially the heavy ones, takes a good deal of time. This entire phenomenon has cumulative impact on the speed with which construction of projects takes place. Additionally, weather conditions too take toll of time. The number of work days in a hilly region is much reduced owing to harsh weather in which output is considerably decreased. But with all said and done, the authorities charged with the duty of bringing the projects to completion cannot escape the blame. There seems no justification for long delay in their completion. It has been reported that many projects, mostly in the vital sectors of water, power and public works have failed to meet the completion target despite huge expenditure incurred. And one of the major reasons is non release of funds. It is for the administrative echelons to sit down and discuss how this obstruction can be surmounted. Here it needs to be reminded that the source of corruption lies in delaying the release of instalments. It is a means by which the babudom wants to assert its authority and at the same time extricate pecuniary benefits from the contractors. When funds are available and the project expenditures are patently shown, what can be the reason for not utilizing them to full capacity? This is sheer irresponsibility. The administrative head of a department has to be made answerable for this lapse. Coming back to the MDSC, the project began with the initiation of the then chief minister Neiphiu Rio in 2006. Now in 2018, Rio is again in the top chair. Hope now lies on Chief Minister Rio to finish what he started.