Ray of hope for better roads!

Silchar, Nov 23: Some ray of hope has been seen for improvement in the road condition in and around Silchar town after PWD Minister Ajanta Neog’s meeting with Parliamentary Secretary of Finance and MLA from Udharband constituency Ajit Singh, Cachar Deputy Commissioner Harendra Kumar Dev Mahanta, commissioners and engineers of PWD (R), NE and NH divisions at Dispur on Monday.
Earlier, Urban Development and Housing Minister Dinesh Prasad Goala did meet the minister on the issue for which the people have been agitating for several months.
A series of massive protest rallies and demonstrations, including blockade of highways and roads, have failed to stir either Delhi or Dispur. The public have become fed up with false assurances and contradictory statements of ministers from Barak Valley. While Excise and Border Area Development Minister Gautom Roy has been harping on taking up the matter with the Centre, Dinesh Prasad Goala, despite being in charge of Cachar district also, has only tantalized them with allotment of more funds from Delhi with no visible impact on the ground.
The verbal duel between Gautom Roy and AIUDF MLA from Katigorah constituency Ataur Rahman Majharbhuiya during the last State Assembly session on the issue of NH 44 and roads has brazenly exposed the nexus between politicians and contractors and the related commission which was, however, expunged by the Speaker going on record in the Assembly proceedings. But the people of this valley were simply amused since the “tie-up is an open secret” which stands in the way of development.
Ajit Singh, who has so far kept himself away from all such controversies, did hit the nail when he lambasted Gautom Construction Company entrusted with the construction, repair and improvement of roads in urban and rural areas at the behest of a minister. He came down heavily on the company at the meeting for its “go-as-you-like” attitude.
Monitoring of works to ensure quality and specifications is now a thing of the past. Contractors have been simply made pawns in the commission – game of ministers. The public perception is that ministers could keep themselves off any contract business. The PWD Minister has, however, asked contractors to complete their works on time to claim payments.
Ajanta Neog arranged display of video footages of the roads in Sadia, Sivasagar and Jorhat repaired and upgraded and constructed under central reserve fund at the meeting with the engineers of PWD (R), NH and NEC divisions of Cachar and wanted to know the reasons for roads being in worst shape in their districts. No plausible explanation could be forthcoming. The minister also laid stress on the completion of Silchar bypass, Silchar-Kalain road and also the improvement of the road network in the town. Nothing was, however, revealed about the utilization of Rs 63 crore sanctioned by former Union Minister Sontosh Mohan Dev from the CRF for the improvement of urban and rural roads. (SentinelAssam)

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