Claims and counter-claims on NH 2 issue

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IMPHAL, July 30: Tadubi MLA K. Raina today stated that the construction works taken up along the National Highway 2, formerly known as NH-39, will not improve unless the officials of the PWD discharge their duties sincerely.

The MLA stated this during a press conference held today at his official quarter at Babupara, while clarifying on certain issues recently put up by work minister K. Ranjit through the media during his inspection tour of the landslide hit area at Maram.

K. Raina stated that the landslide at Maram could have been to some extent averted had the PWD built retaining walls along the highway. He further claimed that the principal secretary of PWD had been repeatedly reminded of the condition of highway stretch from Koirengei to Mao and to develop the highway as the engineer concern including the chief engineer were out of reach.

He further alleged that he hardly get to meet any engineers deputed along the NH-2; at the work site even though he used to ferry to and fro between Imphal and his assembly constituency Maram. He also added that around 60 kms of the highway lies in his constituency.

The MLA further clarified that he had not given any form of agreement or permission to anybody regarding to the installation of hot mix plant at his constituency as mentioned by the minister besides having an informal conversation about it with the minister.

He further maintained that, “the people of Maram especially the youths have been involved in assisting the reconstruction of the road damage by the landslide. Under such circumstances, what more co-operations the minister is expecting when mentioned for extending co-operation from the public of the Maram?”

He further contended that the statement used by the minister as provocative and expressed his disappointment on the delay of works on the pretext of law and order situation or disturbances.

He further opined that the nature of work taken up is similar to those of advertising agencies. The PWD officials are seen taking up work on a war footing only when the minister arrives at the site on inspection tour.

“I will give my full co-operation, but I don’t believe the condition of the NH-2 will improve unless the official of the PWD are sincere”, said K. Raina.   

Meanwhile, the executive engineer division-I of National Highway, K. Premkumar decried the statement given by K. Raina, MLA Tadubi during a press conference held today at his office chamber in Imphal.

The executive engineer said that the term ‘advertisement’, as made by the MLA during a press conference held in the morning, was unfortunate.

According to him, several pending works that have been left unaccomplished during the tenure of the earlier minister, has been implemented or either sanctioned since K. Ranjit took charge of the PWD.

He further alleged that the delay in the progress of the development and repair works along the highway was due to the failure of the earlier ministers to issue work orders in time.

Besides that he asserted that law and order situation and natural calamities were other factors that have been hampering the development works along the highway.

Further elaborating on the achievement of K Ranjit, he added that it is only under the present works minister in 2010 that the utilization certificates of previously pending works had been issued after completion of the pending projects.

He further mentioned that after the completion of utilization of the old funds from the centre, work along the NH was halted for several months waiting for further fund sanctions from the central government.

During this period several forms of agitations were launched by the public decrying the delay and demanding immediate intervention from the government regarding the condition of the National Highway which is also regarded as the lifeline of the state. Subsequent upon the unrest, the minister along with the Chief Minister had held several meetings and decisively sanctioned Rs 4.78 crore from the state government ex-chequer for resuming work along the highway. The work was allotted to 11 contractors through an open tender bidding.

The minister had been monitoring the progress of the work execution and implementations since then, added Premkumar.

He added that currently a total of Rs 63 crore have been sanctioned for the maintenance and repairing of the highway stretch from Imphal to Mao.

Citing inconveniences faced by the department with limited funds available with the department, he added that last year under the central scheme for flood, damage and repair (FDR) only a total of Rs 1.6 crore was sanctioned which according to Premkumar was less when compared to fund sanctioned in other states. However, there has been no sanction made for this year so far, Premkumar added.

In the meantime, Premkumar during the conference lauded the various civil organizations, student organizations, town committee and especially N.P.O for their much-needed support and help extended towards the officials of the concerned department while working on the highway.

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