DIMAPUR, NOVEMBER 28: The Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court on Monday directed the Contractor of the ongoing project to upgrade National Highway 2 into a two-lane road to appear in person before the Court at the next hearing.
In an order, a Bench comprising Justices Songkhupchung Serto and Devashis Baruah stated that this directive was as per an order previously issued on November 17. Accordingly, the next hearing will be on December 2.
On November 17, it prima facie concluded that the Contractor had committed contempt of Court. “But before we pass any order to that effect, the Contractor is given a chance of being heard on the next date. He shall come prepared as to why any order to that effect should not be passed and appropriate punishment under the law should also not be imposed.
“Besides, because of the wilful disobedience to our directions and negligence on the part of the Contractor, people living along this road have also suffered immensely. Therefore, we deem it fit that by now the Contractor should pay cost amounting to at least Rs 10 lakh. This amount should be deposited in the Registry on or before the next date of hearing”, it had ruled then.
On Monday, the representative of the Contractor/respondent No. 9 (Fortune Groups) assured the Court that works will be taken up on war footing.
Not adversarial litigation
According to the Court, the project named “Upgradation of existing road to 2-Lane with Paved Shoulder starting from Kohima to Mao from km 185.540 to Km 211.709” was initiated on July, 2020 and as per the contract agreement it should have been completed on April 22, 2022.
“Since the work on the ground did not get started and because of that the condition of the road had deteriorated to the extend one may say deplorable, this Court took up the matter on suo moto on March 2, 2022.
“The highway concerned, besides being a national highway, is a road used by the people who are settled along the same and for the last 4 to 5 years they have been compelled to work in the mud and sludge during the rainy season and literally made to eat the dust in winter. Therefore, apart from causing inconveniences, it has also caused health hazards to the people. As such, the highway, instead of being a blessing to the people has almost turned into a curse for them”, the Court observed.
Taking all these into consideration, is stated, the Court was compelled take up the case in public interest. “This public interest litigation is not an adversarial litigation; it is taken up in the interest of public so as to help the parties involved in resolving issues so that the objective of the project is achieved in time”, it asserted.
(Page News Service)