Dr. Asangba Tzudir
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) Nagaland was ‘corruption-free’ in 2018. Someone quipped if it was April Fools’ Day news. Truth be told, not a single case of corruption was officially registered in Nagaland in 2018, and thus reflected a corrupt free Nagaland.
Beyond the clean records, the contrasting reality is clearly seen to the naked eyes, and among others, the roads have been hit hard. The directive of the Nagaland Governor to the DGP to set up SIT to probe extortions on Centrally Sponsored Scheme road projects is much relieving considering the revelation that ‘rampant extortions’ by ‘anti-social’ elements has led to slow progress and compromised quality of the Dimapur-Kohima four lane road project.
Further, the Governor’s directive to the DGP and IG Assam Rifles to take the most stringent actions against such elements and their patrons, and also providing security to the workers would hopefully revive the slow process of the work without compromising on quality. As decided, the monthly review of the work should also be done at the right earnest to ensure progress and security in place. Only such reviews that seeks to address the problems and issues, status of work and also construction progress would ensure works completion in time.
‘Compromises’ especially on quality seems to have become a delicacy in the Naga platter of corruption which adds a painful layer on the very edifice of ‘developmental works’ in Nagaland. The result is that the joy of a new developmental work is short lived, and a similar fate awaits the ongoing four lane road project if not monitored properly. The effect of compromises on quality will be felt more especially on major projects once the compromises on quality starts showing.
The four lane road construction has witnessed various kinds of issues and problems which had not only led to slow progress of work but even brought to a stand-still at times. One can only hope that with various directives coming from the Governor including a much needed ‘highway construction protection force, the construction works would continue unhindered.
The public too having an added advantage of acting as a pressure group carries a huge socio-moral responsibility towards plying a pro-active role. The fact that not a single case of corruption was officially registered in Nagaland in 2018 in the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) also speaks volumes about the silence of the general public at large. The silence attests the hand in glove relationship besides palm greasing aimed at achieving individual gains rather than one that looks at the well-being and progress of the people and society at large. Along with extortion, this is primarily the reason why Nagaland has seen stalled developmental works, compromised work quality etc.
However, the various forms of directive coming from the Governor breathes a new life and hope for the ongoing four lane road construction.
(Dr. Asangba Tzudir contributes a weekly guest editorial to The Morung Express. Comments can be mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org)