Controversy over 4-lane road work

Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, AUG 31 (NPN) | Publish Date: 8/31/2018 12:55:30 PM IST

M/s ECI Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd which created a controversy by claiming that the four-lane work had been affected due to incidents like theft of vehicles, threats and disturbances by miscreants etc., has now come under the scanner for the controversies surrounding the ongoing project.

After the Nagaland Post report, published on August 24, about the firm being compelled to halt works in some sections, the state chief minister Neiphiu Rio took serious notice and summoned a meeting. The meeting attended by the chief minister, chief secretary, DGP and intelligence officials along with the ECI official discussed the matter to ascertain the facts about the project.

The very official who had informed Nagaland Post about the problems, then did an about turn to allege that his accounts were misinterpreted. The fact remains that before the report was to be published, the staff showed the same to the ECI official and which was okayed. The issue was later picked up by a section of the media in which the report claimed that the work was affected not due to assault/threat by miscreants but because some of the sub-contractors were not paid by the firm, for which the labourers were also affected.

When Nagaland Post contacted P.L. Rao of M/s ECI regarding the allegation, he straightaway dismissed it as baseless but did not venture to provide further details but promised to get back which was not done till the time of filing this report.

Now the crux of the matter is that the amount of the contract work for the 4-lane construction between Dimapur and Kohima, happens to be perhaps the highest in the region. As per the rate, while work for the two-lane road in Nagaland was approved at Rs.13 crore per kilometre, the rate for the 4-lane highway between Dimapur to Kohima cost around Rs. 34 crore per km (See table on p-7). It is believed that the firm M/s ECI has sublet the contract work and given them to some local contractors.

The report in a section of the local press, claimed that non-payment of salary/wages by the local sub-contractor had led to abandonment by the labourers.

On the other hand, M/s ECI had earlier informed Nagaland Post that works were in danger of coming to a halt due to the problems caused by unknown miscreants.

In a letter dated July 20, 2017 to DC Dimapur, the firm urged the administration to take appropriate measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents in order to enable the company to begin work by reposing its trust on the administration.

Unless this issue is cleared to ensure that the 4-lane project does not fall into disarray and subsequently grind to a halt, the state government has to order a high level probe to identify and unmask the facts.


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