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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Politician-contractor nexus stalling development in Barak Valley

SILCHAR, Oct 11: If politician–militant nexus is behind keeping alive militancy, then politician–contractor tie-up is responsible for stalling development in Barak Valley. It is most ironic and puzzling as well that despite sanction and release of crores of rupees by the Centre for development works in this valley, there is no improvement of road connectivity and civic life.

BJP MP Kabindra Purkayastha has hipped out at this nexus and said this nexus is creating logjam in proper utilization of centrally sponsored implementation of schemes and projects.

Specific instances can be sited in this regard. Former Union Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Sontosh Mohan Dev is on record to say that he could impress upon Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to sanction special assistance funds for improvement of major roads, lanes, by-lanes, drainage system of both urban and rural areas and accordingly Rs 63 crore was released. He was also able to release Rs 158 crore for storm drainage system cum footpath of the town. Detailed about both the schemes were given out with specific amount of funds released for each of the schemes in Silchar and the six Assembly constituencies of Cachar – Sonai, Udharband, Lakhipur, Dholai, Katigorah and Borkhola. But in keeping with the tradition of this valley, the implementation of schemes for better roads and drainage system with footpath are now in the wrangling of politician–contractor nexus. Minister of Urban Development Dinesh Prasad Goala at a Congress party meeting recently raised the utilization of Rs 63 crore, out of which Rs 20 crore has been released in the first phase. The Delhi-based Gautam Construction, he revealed, got Rs 16 crore. But the said contractor on 15-20 per cent commission has given sub-contracts which can never ensure quality work and proper utilization of funds. The question is who brought this construction company in the picture, depriving the Asom-based contractors.
It came out from the statement of Dev that just after the amount of Rs 63 crore was sanctioned and released by Ministry of Surface Transport, Shipping and Highways, the local contractors could not submit tenders under political pressure. Who did create the pressure ? This brought the question of Rs 158 crore drainage schemes for the town. The work was allotted to National Building Construction Corporation of Delhi without the knowledge of Dispur. Of the Rs 4 crore released, the Construction Corporation could utilize Rs 1.17 crore only and left the work. Who is or are the politicians behind the mess ?

The BJP MP was straight in his assertion that people of Barak Valley have to suffer due to politician-contractor nexus. The same if the fate of the stretch of National Highway 44 between Kalain and Malihadar whose maintenance and improvement has been handed over to State PWD (R) from BRTF. Since then the 15 km-long highway has turned into veritable death trap for vehicles with deep potholes and craters. Quite mysteriously, the work has been contracted to yet another Delhi-based Binni Construction at the instance of a minister of Barak Valley. The Centre has sanctioned Rs 50 crore for the improvement of NH 44 in Barak Valley of which as Gautom Roy said Rs 2 crore has already been released. But there is no work on the ground. THE SENTINEL

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