Lotha CSOs cry foul over delay in road project work
DIMAPUR — The Lotha Hoho and its frontal organisations have hit out at the district administration, the National Highway authority and the contractor concerned for inordinate delay in the widening and strengthening of the NH-2 stretch through Wokha town – 72.4 km to 83 km.
The Lotha CSOs, in a joint press release, said that the people of Wokha district in general and those of Wokha town in particular, have been eagerly waiting since the last two years, for upgrade of the national highway passing through the town.
But due to various excuses like improper payment of damage compensation, non-acquisition of compensated land, non-cooperation by the contractor, etc, the project work has not been implemented so far, the CSOs alleged.
The CSOs pointed out that numerous coordination meetings have been convened by various authorities and organisations such as the district administration, Highway authority, stakeholder NGOs and CSOs.
Among the various meetings, a high-level consultation meeting was convened by the Deputy Chief Minister TR Zeliang, in-charge of National Highway, on November 16, 2023, at the Nagaland Secretariat conference hall, Kohima, the release said.
The meeting reportedly culminated with all parties agreeing that the work would resume on December 1, 2023.
“The deputy CM also committed to personally inspect the work site and he did visit the site on the 4th December 2023; and he personally carried out on the spot inspection with all the stakeholder parties, authorities and the contractor,” the release said.
The CSOs also maintained that after the spot verification, the deputy CM also held a meeting at the Hammock Resort, Wokha, where all parties unanimously agreed to resume the work immediately.
In the meeting, it was also agreed that the improper acquisition of compensated sites and structures are to be acquired by the district administration and National Highway authorities, as per the record of payments of compensation, the release said.
But surprisingly, the concerned authorities and the contractor have, so far, not taken any action, it said.
“Hence the district administration and the concerned NH division authorities will be held responsible. Also the problem of acquisition is not of the entire stretch and the contractor should execute the work, except where acquisition is not finalised.
“But the contractor has withdrawn all his machinery, inventories and manpower etc from worksite since May 2023, citing lame excuses. It is no longer tolerable and the stakeholders will not be responsible for any untoward eventuality,” the CSOs affirmed.
Informing that the sanction period of the project will lapse on March 31, 2024, whereas the amount of work done so far is “hardly 10%,” the CSOs expressed apprehension that it may not be possible to execute the remaining work within the projected time frame.
“Is it that the contractor is deliberately delaying the implementation, so as to pursue for revision of the project report? The stake holders are not hindering the work execution; but instead insisting on proper implementation, as per approved specifications. The stake holders know the ground reality and the contractor is responsible for the delay and should not be allowed escalation; but be blacklisted and the work allotted to any other competent contractor,” the CSOs insisted.
The organisations also cautioned that, going by the present trend, the stakeholders will have no other option but to demand CBI inquiry for the “mischievous compensation payments” and disciplinary action taken against the responsible district administration and NH officers.
“The Ministry is requested to examine the matter and to summon the concerned authorities for necessary action to ameliorate the implementation work. The Ministry is further requested to blacklist the contractor, M/S TTC Infra India Ltd, and to allot the work to any other competent contractor,” the release added.