IMPHAL October 21: “Governor Gurbachan Jagat has expressed doubt that the construction of the NH 53 will be completed within the timeframe of December 2013 set by the BRO. The Governor has also given assurance that the matter will be taken up with the officials of the home and defence ministry at the Governors’ Meet scheduled on October 30 at New Delhi”, ICHAM president N Rajendro recounted to mediapersons at Manipur Press Club today.
Detailing the work undertaken by the BRO along the National Highway 53 at present, a team of Information Centre for Hill Areas, Manipur (ICHAM) led by its president N Rajendro met Governor Gurbachan Jagat on October 18 and submitted a memorandum. A similar memorandum was also given to the Chief Minister today apprising him of the work undertakings along the said highway.
He further continued that a team of ICHAM along with media persons undertook a survey of the work taken up by the BRO along the highway on September 15 last. The team observed that only 17 labourers were found working near Kambiron village and along the road stretch, only a few numbers of labourers were seen. “The interesting part is that the BRO had intimated the principal secretary (works) on August 9 that along the Imphal Jiribam route, nearly 1300 labourers with vehicles and equipment were deployed for up gradation work”, Rajendro said.
He further added that the union defence minister AK Anthony as per reports from the BRO had intimated Chief Minister O Ibobi on July 27 that the BRO is making all out efforts to complete works within the December 2013 deadline and 1280 labourers have been deployed at present.
“We have witnessed and recorded along with the media that the report of the BRO and the actual deployment has a massive difference, we have appraised the same to the Governor and the Chief Minister”, he said.
The metalling and black topping of some parts of the highway have also been awarded to ABCI Ltd and Gautam Construction Company from Assam who in turn has further divided the work to six sub contractors since August last, but none of the contractors have started work so far.a
In the purview, the ICHAM team urged both the Governor and CM that a committee comprising of officials of the concerned ministries of the union government and state government be set up to monitor the work of the BRO every month.
Further, for the government to take the appropriate steps in addressing the main complaint of the BRO that of lack of stone quarry and round the clock security protection, of which the latter can be executed by deploying one or two battalions of the IRB along the route.
“We had suggested the steps for the government in order to reduce or altogether remove the various factors impending the efforts for upgradation of the NH 53 and solve the problems being faced by the transporters and passengers along this route at present”, he concluded.