IMPHAL, August 10: High corruption and lack of transparency alleged on the working of the state Public Works Department finally comes into light. A bridge built near Molkon village of Saikhul assembly constituency was commenced sans a work order from the Works department.
The matter came to light during an inspection tour conducted by the Committee on Estimates of the Manipur Legislative Assembly today at Saikhul area. The committee consists of MLA Ng Bijoy as chairman and his counterparts Karam Shyam, Nunglung Victor, Phajur Rahim, Rk Imo and Yamthong Haokip. The inspecting entourage was accompanied by M Lokendro, chief engineer of PWD and Ram Muivah, principal secretary (Works) among other officials.
The team left Imphal in the morning from old Assembly Secretariat and travelled along the Saikul road.In the afternoon, the team inspected the Molkon bridge which is located at least 12 km from Saikhul. As the bridge work was inspected, inquiry was made by the MLAs on the approved amount of the bridge presently halfway under construction. The concerned contractor, namely one M Chaoba answered that the amount is not fixed as of yet as the work was started without an authorized work order.
It may be mentioned that getting a work order for construction works demands a rigid protocol where tender forms has to be notified in the media. Bidding by the registered contractors has to be carried out and the best bid is awarded the work. A letter of intent has to be procured to lift requisite material from the PWD store.
Here, the work on the bridge has been commenced without fulfilling the required norms and hence is an illegal construction. It was also mentioned at the work site that a sum of Rs 1 crore has been sanctioned for the project under the Special Plan Assistance for the year 2011-12. However, fund has not been released.
There was no further deliberation on the issue by the inspecting Expenditure Committee and the MLAs attended a reception function organized at Molkon village market shed afterwards.The matter was not responded clearly when inquired by the media to the concerned team of MLAs.
It may be mentioned here that, the committee is set up to check the amount of funds sanctioned by the government and to equate to the works taken up for further reports to the state governance.
According to credible sources, many officials of the Works department are colluding with their favored contractors to get a profit of the construction works. The modus operandi is to commence construction without work orders and proper official protocol , later the papers would be dated back as authentication. The illegal trend has been carried on with the top officials of the Works department.
It may also be mentioned here that the Estimates committee members failed to clarify in the regard of the Molkon bridge which would connect Lhungtin via Sanakeithel and then to Mahadev of Ukhrul road.
The illegal construction matter was not responded by the accompanying chief engineer or the principal secretary which suggest the obvious lack of transparency in the workings of the department and as well as the reviewing committee.
Sources maintained that the PWD is ripe with such illegal contracts which spell disaster for deserving government contractors. Construction works which should be allotted according to the contractors according to their capacity has been sidelined and awarded to sub contractors with political connections.
The road approaching Saikul and up to Molkon is in a deplorable condition as the maximum stretch has not been blacktopped. Residents of the area cried out to the visiting team that the roads badly need repairing.
The team assured that another visit scheduled in October will monitor the progress of the development of the Saikul road.