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Roads ‘face of the State’, says Rio
DIMAPUR, OCT 29 (NPN):
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Published on 30 Oct. 2008 2:08 AM IST
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Chief minister Neiphiu Rio has said though the assets of the State like buildings, system of governance and quality of human resources were important indicators that make up the health and image of the State, the “face of the State” were the roads, which in Nagaland did not “present a pretty picture.” Addressing a joint meeting of ministers, government officials, engineers and contractors in the conference hall of Hotel Japfu, Kohima, Wednesday, Rio said the magnitude of works taken up under the Roads and Buildings sectors over the past 4-5 years of DAN Ministry had been tremendous, with the Nagaland PWD taking up most of the major works. “It is, therefore, expected that there should have been a sense of achievement and satisfaction amongst the general public and the tillers of these assets,” he said. The chief minister however regretted that despite the government spending crores of rupees in the roads and building sectors, the quality of these works left much to be desired and added this was one area which needed to be addressed very seriously. Dwelling on the main problems leading to poor quality of works in the State, and how to overcome them, Rio said in his opinion it was the engineers in charge of the construction works, who were first and foremost responsible for the quality control aspects. “They are expected to supervise the construction on the spot and ensure that the required specifications and adhered to. I think many of our engineers are in the habit of supervising construction works from the comforts of their offices only,” he said. He also said contractors were also equally responsible for ensuring quality in their works and that they should not be guided by profit motive only. Informing that the Government had recently taken a decision to set up a “quality control board” in the State, Rio said it might become necessary to set up Quality Control Laboratories in every district head quarters to enforce a uniform control on the quality control aspects. He further informed that the Government was considering the possibility of constituting “Nagaland Road Authority” to take up the task of planning and coordination, and to ensure proper planning and development of road network in Nagaland. Stating that there was a need for increase in absorption capacity of funds coming from the Centre, the chief minister said the Government had recently taken a decision to set up a new “National Highway” wing under Roads & Bridges, to be headed by a Chief Engineer. “A number of big road projects are being planned in the North East region, including Nagaland as a part of “Look East Policy’. Hence, under performance in this sector will not only adversely effect the development of State; it will also deprive the State of much required central assistance in the subsequent years. We have to expedite the process of execution of works in all sectors,” he said. Assuring that the DAN Government was trying to maintain transparency in all matters, Rio said towards this end, sign boards, indicating all mandatory details of on-going projects should be displayed in all important construction sites. The chief minister reminded that he had initiated the meeting to throw a challenge on the State’s engineers and contractors, who, he said, were not inferior to any other engineers and contractors in other parts of the country. “I want you to do soul searching and serious introspection, to find out what needs to be changed, what needs to be improved, so that the quality of assets we created are real assets, and not inferior quality or liabilities. Therefore, let us all work together with a renewed determination to build a new, vibrant Nagaland of our dreams,’ Rio said. (Text of full speech on Page 4)

 
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