On 10th November 2017, local papers carried a news item on how the first phase of 4 numbers of 2-lane SARDP-NE road was mismanaged. IANS filed the story and therefore the content to which I am particularly referring to may or may not be the official version of authority concerned. Nonetheless, lest it is reacted to, allowing the story to remain unchallenged will give lease to misguiding the general public by camouflaging the culprits with such distortions. My attention is particularly drawn to para 3 as found in The Morung Express (dated 10.11.2017) and I quote “…private company Gayatri Constructions, which was awarded the work, spent six times more than the estimated cost just for earthwork…This had led to a dispute between the authorities and the contractor, following which the latter abandoned the project.”
Though the two sentences are self explanatory, it implies that the Contractor Gayatri Constructions resorted to incurring much higher expenditure for mere earthwork to the tune of six times more than the actual estimated cost. The second sentence implies that the ground achievements failed to commensurate the utilization of fund and that became the reason for alleged dispute between the contractor and the concerned authorities and the ultimate departure of the Contractor.
At my initiatives, one of the projects was taken up and therefore I followed the subsequent developments. Nevertheless, I have no intention to vouch for Gayatri Constructions Company as though it is not sinless nor do I know how sinful the Company is. What I know was that the Gayatri Constructions was fiercely hunted by others in huge numbers the moment the company landed in Nagaland till it left Nagaland.
For what? For kickbacks, what else? Who and who involved in that quest for illegal benefit? From top to bottom. The Contractor was forced to please people in authority. Who are these people in authority? Those who are running 10 governments within an area of just 16,579 sq.km.
How was it possible for them to resort to any damn method for extraction of money from the Contractor who is under the protection of the nodal authority which is no other than the National Highways Department under PWD, Nagaland? Yes, the State Govt. authorised the NH Deptt. of PWD to supervise and monitor the executions of all the 4 roads with the mandatory authority that any payment to Contractor would be on the basis of completion certificate so issued by the respective Divisional authorities. Therefore, the Contractor did not receive any payment outside the certification of the controlling authority, i.e. the State Govt.
That being the system, it is not justifiable to pass the buck to Gayatri Constructions for the mismanagement of the first phase. Had not Nagaland Govt. issued completion certificates, the Contractor, no matter how articulate it may be, would not have drawn bills 6 times more than the estimated cost. The bigger onus lied with State Govt. as it tacitly allowed the Contractor to receive payments beyond what it deserved. Rather, such misuse of developmental fund has become an accepted tradition of the present day Govt.
The Contractor Gayatri Constructions, a Hyderabad based company, came to prepare lifelines of road for our State. The contractor was kept at the disposal of the State Govt. to use the services of the company and to let it execute the given tasks within the given parameters in our interest. The saddest episode is that the State Govt. abused its power and connived with the Contractor to destroy the projects at the expense of the helpless villages is simply shocking. Whereas, after having exploited the contractor, the responsible authorities are directly or indirectly trying to shit upon the head of the contractor is similar to that of Ostrich’s hiding.
To once again reap the harvest illegally, the State Govt. tried its best to seize these SARDP roads from NHIDCL by delaying the issue of Land Encumbrance Free certificates. Because of the greed of the State authorities, one working season is allowed to be wasted. How are we going to complete the projects within two and half years time schedule directed by Supreme Court of India is the worry now.