The Morung Express

What could have happened to 4-Lane Road Project?

Z. Lohe

Nagaland Post broke the ice about the contractor, the ECI, being hunted by certain miscreants due to which the ongoing road works have been stalled for want of congenial environment in Medziphe/Prephema area in particular. Consequently, few concerned public forums expressed their displeasure at those who harassed the workers. Joining them, I too reacted to such illegal act of stalling the progress of the work.

 

Meanwhile, on further scrutiny by Morung Express, it was found to be a hoax as the Coordinator of ECI failed to stand by his first report given to press earlier on further query. Rather, ECI was found largely responsible for discontinuance of the works due to non-release of payments to its sub-contractors.

 

The whole controversy has to be investigated by competent authority as the matter is of public importance and Nagaland cannot afford to neither allow the project to be embroiled in such controversy nor give chance to anyone including the contractor to take undue advantage whereby sub-standard raw materials are used (as reported by Morung Express) nor can the contractor be allowed to ignore the given specifications. To this end, it is the bounden duty of the nodal authority of the Govt. of Nagaland to effectively supervise to ensure that we get the quality road for the first time in 55 years of our Statehood.

 

Nevertheless, anything is possible in Nagaland as of today. I do not distrust the ECI when it lodged complaint to DC, Dimapur in the middle of July 2018 for the inconveniences caused to the company by miscreants. Let us admit that when even tiny and negligible Pan shops are not spared from paying taxes, can one believe that the contractors whose works involve crores of rupees be spared by those professional tax extractors? Hypothetically speaking, when a Naga contractor takes up a work in UP or Bihar, and when he is placed under the magic spell of a powerful mafia, he is sandwiched between the official commitment made to Govt. to complete the project on time and the pressure for obliging to the mafia. To lodge complaint to State administration and to divulge the details as to who and how he is being intimidated by the mafia may cost not only his contract work but even his life. Because, some of the powerful elected representative, some of the bureaucrats and some of the Police officers are in league with such mafia. And when the administration is under the control of mafia virtually, the contractor, despite of facing inconveniences, he has to remain helpless knowing that he can ever get any protection. In such an environment, the first option for the contractor will be to haphazardly complete the work by ignoring the given specifications and depart from the location as soon as possible.

 

Kohima-Dimapur road project may be facing no better situation. Reading the news items on the same matter published by local papers in between the lines, one can imagine that there are forces in Nagaland which are capable to scuttle the disclosure of facts. It is therefore not advisable for the State authority to brush aside the displeasures so expressed by the contractor. One has to understand that life is more important than our road project. If the contractor can swim against the strong current and cross the river, why should the contractor be so meticulous about the nifty gritty.

 

Yet, we the common man will be the victim of the failure of the project. Let us extent helping hand to give protection to the contractors from illegal interferences and allow the project to be completed on time.