Deplorable quality

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 2/6/2019 12:22:40 PM IST

 Deplorable road conditions in Nagaland are mute testimony to the lack of one very crucial and essential ingredient of development which facilitates movement of people and services. Even as Nagaland is struggling economically and with a plethora of projects and schemes aimed at the uplift of the socio-economy, the road conditions that impede free movement add to the problem. In an era where other states have four or six lane highways, Nagaland is unable to even have even an all-weather single-lane road. The ongoing construction of the four-lane highway from Purana Bazar to Kohima is to be tested for quality. For a few days, videos showing newly laid asphalt being peeled off from the road in a particular district because of the poor quality of workmanship, highlighted the common concern of public about the lack of strict supervision of civil works in the state. A few days later the deputy chief minister in-charge of national highways visited the district and saw for himself the extremely shoddy workmanship. Now it remains to be seen what the deputy chief minister in-charge of national highways is going to do about the poor quality of workmanship. Probably, he can do little because the technical issue is a matter that is also impacted by the fund available after all the cuts from top to bottom, which compelled contractors to compromise on quality and quantity, in order to earn enough profit. This is one of the reasons about the poor quality of infrastructures in Nagaland. It is also a fact that the Schedule Of Rate(SoR) fixed on various items for any particular period, are more than double or even triple the cost in the local market. Over and above this aspect, most government civil contract works are invariably subjected to the “real juice” called cost escalation which can go up to even one and half or twice the original estimate within a period of two years. Sometimes, it is claimed that the cost escalations could even go higher, depending on the appetite of the authorities, the tax collectors and contractors. The poor quality of roads that were shown recently on whatsapp are not a new phenomenon. These have been reported even in the legislative assembly years back ,when members made remarks about ‘black lipsticks’ being applied on the roads instead of thick layers of asphalt. Workmanship continues to be an issue because there is no accountability. This will remain so because the long arm of the law is not long enough to reach those who wilfully and blatantly flout the law. There have been enough reports published in the local media about several infrastructures of very poor quality. So far, there has been no response from the departments involved about action taken for remedial action from the contractors. The absolutely shoddy quality of roads undergoing repairs in the state, should not be accepted. If there are contract laws so also exist technical specifications. In other states there are contractors who have adequate engineering and technical knowledge or who are experienced and conversant with construction works. The state roads and bridges authority need to enforce the laws and also ensure that monitoring is undertaken by a totally separate and independent branch who may also like to include some prominent citizens. The lunatic rush for windfall profits at the cost of the state and its people must go.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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