CM unhappy with progress at work sites; instructs concerned departments to expedite work

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IMPHAL, March 27: The state Chief Minister has today expressed his dissatisfaction and anger over the slow pace of working at the various work sites being taken up in an around the state capital.

The CM today alongwith the state works minister K Ranjit and PDA chairman Kh Loken conducted an inspection tour of the various developmental works being undertaken in the capital including the Naga Nullah, Nambul river taken up under Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewable Mission and Capitol complex, Chingmeirong, High court complex and city convention centre, Palace compound, ISBT at Khuman Lampak.

Speaking on the sidelines of the tour the CM expressed shock and dissatisfaction at the slow work progress at some of the work sites including the ISBT, Naga Nullah and Nambul River project.

He maintained that the Naga Nullah and the Nambul River project are being undertaken by the PDA and IFCD jointly with a funding of Rs 10 crores from centre. The CM on finding the work progress to be slow along the Khuyathong stretch of the Naga Nullah inquired the contractors on the reason at which the contractors cited lack of labourers due to the recent yaoshang holidays which has slowed down the work progress.

The CM called for extra labourers to quicken the work progress along the stretch.

On the construction of the ISBT at Khuman Lampak, the CM maintained that it has been constructed with a funding of Rs 26.4 crores from the NEC and an additional Rs 10 crores from the state totaling at Rs 36.4 crores.

The CM further expressed dismay over the kind of work being undertaken at the ISBT site. He further maintained that the work site has remained as it was in his previous tour with no visible developments. The CM showing his dissent over the slow pace of work and unfit nature of the contractors which has hindered the completion deadline of the Inter State Bus Terminus project, had enjoined the works minister K Ranjit who was accompanying the CM on the tour to change the present working contractors if they are unfit and to handover the contract to other willing construction agencies.

During today’s inspection tour, the CM also visited the Capitol project, Chingmeirong and High Court complex at Lei Ingkhol, Chingmeirong and assured that the development programmes in the capital would be completed before the monsoon season by deploying more man power in the undergoing works.

The Chief Minister had already instructed concerned department to expedite the work progress to meet the target at the earliest.

More obstacles impede crews in Japan nuke crisis
TOKYO, March 27 (AP): Mounting problems, including badly miscalculated radiation figures and inadequate storage tanks for huge amounts of contaminated water, stymied emergency workers Sunday as they struggled to nudge Japan`s stricken nuclear complex back from the edge of disaster.

Workers are attempting to remove the radioactive water from the tsunami-ravaged nuclear compound and restart the regular cooling systems for the dangerously hot fuel.

The day began with company officials reporting that radiation in leaking water in the Unit 2 reactor was 10 million times above normal, a spike that forced employees to flee the unit. The day ended with officials saying the huge figure had been miscalculated and offering apologies.

“The number is not credible,” said Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Takashi Kurita. “We are very sorry.”
A few hours later, TEPCO Vice President Sakae Muto said a new test had found radiation levels 100,000 times above normal — far better than the first results, though still very high.

But he ruled out having an independent monitor oversee the various checks despite the errors.

Officials acknowledged there was radioactive water in all four of the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex`s most troubled reactors, and that airborne radiation in Unit 2 measured 1,000 millisieverts per hour, four times the limit deemed safe by the government.

Those high airborne readings — if accurate — would make it very difficult for emergency workers to get inside to pump out the water.

Officials say they still don`t know where the radioactive water is coming from, though government spokesman Yukio Edano earlier said some is “almost certainly” seeping from a damaged reactor core in one of the units.

The discovery late last week of pools of radioactive water has been a major setback in the mission to get the crucial cooling systems operating more than two weeks after a massive earthquake and tsunami.

The magnitude-9 quake off Japan`s northeast coast on March 11 triggered a tsunami that barreled onshore and disabled the Fukushima plant, complicating a humanitarian disaster that is thought to have killed about 18,000 people.

A top TEPCO official acknowledged it could take a long time to clean up the complex.

“We cannot say at this time how many months or years it will take,” Muto said, insisting the main goal now is to keep the reactors cool.

Workers have been scrambling to remove the radioactive water from the four units and find a place to safely store it. Each unit may hold tens of thousands of gallons of radioactive water, said Minoru Ogoda of Japan`s nuclear safety agency.

Safety agency officials had been hoping to pump the water into huge, partly empty tanks inside the reactor that are designed to hold condensed water.

Those tanks, though, turned out to be completely full, said Hidehiko Nishiyama of Japan`s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

Meanwhile, plans to use regular power to restart the cooling system hit a roadblock when it turned out that cables had to be laid through turbine buildings flooded with the contaminated water.

“The problem is that right now nobody can reach the turbine houses where key electrical work must be done,” Nishiyama said. “There is a possibility that we may have to give up on that plan.”

Despite Sunday`s troubles, officials continued to insist the situation had at least partially stabilized.

“We have somewhat prevented the situation from turning worse,” Edano told reporters Sunday evening. “But the prospects are not improving in a straight line and we`ve expected twists and turns. The contaminated water is one of them and we`ll continue to repair the damage.”

The protracted nuclear crisis has spurred concerns about the safety of food and water in Japan, which is a prime source of seafood for some countries. Radiation has been found in food, seawater and even tap water supplies in Tokyo.

Just outside the coastal Fukushima nuclear plant, radioactivity in seawater tested about 1,250 times higher than normal last week — but that number had climbed to 1,850 times normal by the weekend.

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