PASIGHAT, 13 Mar: Pasighat PWD Executive Engineer (EE) Tani Taki said the decision to start work on widening the Mirem-Mikong-Jonai (MMJ) road in Ruksin in East Siang district was taken considering the exigency and the time-bound nature of the project, “without any vested and ulterior intention.”
Taki said the department had allowed the contractor concerned to start only the road widening work in good faith as it did not involve much technical issues, unlike the design of pavement and culverts.
“Since the working season was slipping away and there was an urgent demand for progress of the work at site by the NEC authorities as several months have already elapsed after the sanction was accorded and first installment of Rs 11.50 crores was released, the department allowed the contractor to start the road widening work, considering the same scope in the original DPR of the department against which the project was sanctioned,” the EE said, responding to the news headlined ‘Road construction without…’, etc, which was published in this daily on 12 March.
Besides, some stretches of the road project pass through wet rice cultivation fields and the villagers will start ploughing their fields in April/May and the widening of the road would cause obstruction to their irrigation channels at various locations, which may in turn affect the livelihood of the villagers, Taki said.
“The department could not afford to wait for 45 days for the DPR from the contractor for the widening work as it will further delay the start of the project. Thus, it was decided to start the widening work, considering the compelling circumstances in the interest of the people and the project as well,” he said.
Taki said a joint meeting on the issue was held with a group of people under the banner of the Mirem-Mikong-Jonai Road Monitoring Committee (MMJRMC) on 11 March, during which, he said, he told the MMJRMC and PRI members that though the DPR has not been received from the contractor, he had allowed them to start the widening work considering the exigency and time-bound nature of the project.
The other works were to be taken up only after the design and the DPR of the project had been submitted by the contractor after having them vetted by the competent authority.
“…I requested them to allow continuation of the widening work, so that it could be completed before the start of the rainy season, to which majority of the members agreed to my request for continuation of the widening work and not to stop it. However, at the fag end of the meeting, the MMJRMC legal adviser has threatened to file a PIL against the department if the contractor is allowed to start the earth work without approval of the design and DPR. I agreed not to go ahead with the work, respecting their sentiments, even though the decision of widening the road was based largely in the interest of the project and the people of the area,” Taki said.
The EE appealed to the people of the constituency to cooperate with the department for successful implementation of the road project.