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Hoho wants Wokha-Merapani road declared national highway

By EMN Updated: Oct 20, 2017 11:13 pm

Firm told to ensure construction norms

Dimapur, Oct. 20 (EMN): The Lotha Hoho has issued a statement stating reasons why the controversial Wokha-Merapani road ought to be declared a national highway and upgraded likewise.
The community organisation issued a statement on Friday explaining the role of the road in connecting various districts in Assam and Nagaland besides Arunachal Pradesh; its role as a trade and commerce link.
“Being the shortest road connecting Assam with Wokha district, most of the survival daily commercial activities such as supply of consumable household and grocery items, vegetables, meat, fish, some hardware items like sand, bricks, rods, cement etc are transported through this road,” the organisation stated.
“The road therefore serves as the survival link for the district. This road needs to be declared a full-fledged National Highway and be upgraded as a National Highway immediately. This road is dependent on the bridge over Doyang River, near Doyang Hydro Project which has withstood the wear and tear of time and is susceptible to failure any time and needs immediate replacement.”
The organisation stated that the Wokha-Merapani road was a historic road. It connects Wokha district with Assam’s Golaghat and Jorhat districts besides Mokokchung and Mon in Nagaland via Assam; and with the state of Arunachal Pradesh, which is also connected via Assam, it stated.
The construction agency understood to be in contract to construct the controversial road has been told to ensure building norms when working on the road. The community organisation made clear that it will not allow any agency to ‘compromise the work quality due to either lower tender rate or sub letting.’
The National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) is stated to have been entrusted with the task of ‘rehabilitation work’ during 2017-18. The work order is said to have been issued several months ago to one Lucknow-based contractor called M/S C.S. Infra Construction Pvt. Ltd.
“…and the public of Wokha have been in waiting for the last nearly a year, for the work to be implemented. But work is yet to be implemented,” the Lotha Hoho lamented.
The work, according to the press release, entails funds amounting to Rs.190.00 crore. ‘It is learnt that the NHIDCL had accepted the tender for the work at 21% below Schedule of Rate (SOR) and work order issued to the contractor. It is also learnt that the contractor for the work is subletting the works to other local contractors.’
The Lotha Hoho remarked that the decrease in the “amount” for the work due to lower tender rate at 21% below was Rs.39.90 crore. Therefore, the net amount available is Rs. 150.10 crore only, the press release stated. In addition to the lower tender rate, the process of sub-letting will involve fees from the sub contractors and will further minimize the fund available for the work, the organisation observed.
The statement declared: “The Lotha Hoho understands that calling and accepting tenders, for contract works, is not only to accept the lowest rate; but to ensure that the rate is reasonable and the intending contractor is competent and reliable. Hence the NHIDCL, accepting a tender rate of 21% below SOR and issuing work order at such extremely low rate and further subletting to sub contractors, is seen as malpractice and a hindrance to work quality.”
If the contractor, M/S C.S. Infra Construction (Pvt) Ltd. is unable to directly execute the work, it should not have ‘tendered for the contract’ as it only jeopardises the implementation of the work, the organisation stated.

Working confusion
Another interesting input the Lotha Hoho gave in the statement was concerns about which firm was actually in charge: During the ‘colloquium on road connectivity’ that was convened by the Nagaland government, the general manager of the NHIDCL at Dimapur ‘could not clarify the queries on the matter, saying that he does not look after this work.’ The official reported clarified that the NHIDCL at Tezpur was to ‘look after’ the road; but the “said GM, NHIDCL” failed to attend this meeting, the statement said.
The Lotha Hoho has insisted that the state government take up the matter with the NHIDCL at Tezpur. “The chief secretary, govt. of Nagaland, stood up and assured to do so,” the organisation added.
The organisation stated to have written to the NHIDCL concerning issues about supply of details of the ‘DPR, sanction order, work order etc’ but till date ‘no communication from NHIDCL has been received.’
‘Irrespective of the tender rate, the beneficiary community road users will insist on adherence to work specifications and will not allow any agency to compromise the work quality due to either lower tender rate or sub-letting,’ the Lotha Hoho added. ‘Hence, the NHIDCL is requested to implement the work at the earliest and to adhere to work specifications, without compromising with work quality.’

By EMN Updated: Oct 20, 2017 11:13:59 pm