NH-2 Kohima-Mao project: Nagaland Govt constitutes fact-finding team

•    SAPO urges SAYO to withhold proposed highway closure in response 
•    Urges full cooperation from all stakeholders

Kohima, June 17 (MExN): The Nagaland Government has constituted a “Fact-Finding Technical Team” headed by the Chief Engineer, PWD (NH), to examine in detail the construction of the ongoing Kohima-Mao (National Highway-2) road.

The development came following a 15-day ultimatum served by the Southern Angami Youth Organization (SAYO) to concerned authorities to take steps to address various issues concerning the road project. The deadline expired on June 15.

A notification issued by the Nagaland Works and Housing Department on June 15 stated that the members of the committee comprised the Chief Engineer, PWD (NH) as Convenor, and the District Administration/Representative, Kohima; Executive Engineer, PWD (NH), Kohima Division; and three representatives from concerned NGOs as members.

One of the primary tasks of the team is to assess and examine whether the ongoing construction of the road is as per the Detailed Project Report or contract agreement. 

It is further mandated to investigate all aspects of work quality and safety audit was well as   ascertain the reasons for the undue delay in the completion of the road project.

The team can also look into any other relevant issues as deemed necessary and fit.

Meanwhile, the notification also directed the Executive Director (P), National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), Kohima to provide all relevant documents, DPR, and records as sought by the team. 

The General Manager, NHIDCL of the Kohima-Mao Road, was also directed to accompany and assist the team during the site visits, it said. 

After examining the issues raised by the SAPO and SAYO in detail, the team was asked to complete the work and submit the report within three weeks of the issue of the notification.

Meanwhile, in view of what it termed as “proactive steps” and intervention by the State Government to resolve the matter, the Southern Angami Public Organisation (SAPO) appealed to the SAYO to temporarily withhold the proposed highways traffic closure. 

It also expressed appreciation to the State Government for the constitution of a fact-finding team to investigate the ongoing construction of the Kohima-Mao road project.

The SAPO also urged the NHIDCL, under the authority of the Executive Director (ED), to take immediate and stern action to address public concerns regarding road expansion and safety norms implementation, which have become a significant national concern. 

“We expect NHIDCL to cooperate fully with the team, providing all necessary documents and assistance to ensure a thorough investigation,” stated the SAPO in a press release from its President Tepul Hopovi, General Secretary Swelul Pucho, and SAPO Technical Committee General Secretary, Kevipopi.

The organisation also appealed to citizens to cooperate with authorities during the investigation period amid anticipation that the “facts will be revealed, ending the blame game and ignorance.” 

The SAPO urges the Executive Director, NHIDCL, and General Manager Kohima-Mao, the EPC Contractor, and the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) to thoroughly examine public concerns regarding road expansion and safety norms implementation. 

“We expect this investigation report to open a new chapter for better infrastructure development,” it added.

The SAPO also called upon the MORTH, Executive Director (P), NHIDCL Kohima, as well as the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contractors to prioritise NH-2 road connectivity.

It asked the NHIDCL to take the lead in ensuring the road project's timely and efficient completion, with utmost regard for safety and quality as the top priority.

The SAPO further assured its cooperation to facilitate the development process and not to hinder any development and the technical team for the NH-2 stretch. 

The organisation will also work hand in hand with the implementing agency to see that the project and the team are completed within the stipulated time frame, it added.

It must be noted here that due to slow progress of the work in Kohima-Mao Gate road project, the Gauhati High Court Kohima Bench is currently hearing a Public Interest Litigation (Suo Moto). 

During the last hearing on June 12, the Amicus Curiae of the PIL informed the Division Bench that the earlier deadline set for completion had lapsed on May 31.

Upon the judges' query, the contractor also informed that 73.07% physical progress had been achieved as of June 11. 
The Bench listed the matter for further hearing on June 19.