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MDA ally seeks ouster of Meghalaya Transport minister over illegal weighbridges

Correspondent Shillong, Jul 23 | Publish Date: 7/23/2021 1:58:19 PM IST

The lone Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator, Saleng Sangma, who is part of the National People’s Party (NPP)-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA), on Friday demanded of Chief Minister Conrad Sangma to sack his ministerial colleague Sniawbhalang Dhar and opt for CBI probe into the illegal operation of weigh bridges along National Highway-6 in the State, even as the minister has maintained that there has been transparency in the entire process.

Dhar however denied that there are any illegal weighbridges in the State,  stating that all the weighbridges  operated in Meghalaya are “legal as per Meghalaya Weighbridge Policy, 2018,” “The functioning of the weighbridges are all permitted by the government of Meghalaya,”

Dhar said, even as he iterated that there was nothing illegal with the weighbridges in the state

On the demand of a CBI probe by Shillong MP Vincent Pala of the Congress in the parliament, the Transport Minister said, “it is upto the government to decide on the demand for CBI probe into the matter. “ On Thursday, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari had informed the Lok Sabha that there were several illegal weigh bridges operating on National Highway 6 in Meghalaya run by the state government. Gadkari was replying to a question raised by Pala in the parliament.

“The Chief Minister must sack the Transport Minister and take action against those officers who are involved in operating these illegal weigh bridges,” Sangma told reporters.

“It is embarrassing for the State that such illegal act was discussed in the parliament. Therefore, the State government must initiate a CBI probe and punish those officers, including the respective Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police for failing to take action against these illegal weigh bridges,” the NCP legislator demanded.

National Highway 6 is a primary national highway in India passing through Meghalaya, Assam and Mizoram. The highway links Jorabat, Shillong, Jowai, Badarpur, Panchgram, Kolasib, Kanpui, Aizawl, Seling, Lumtui, Khawthlir, Tuisen, Neihdawn, Champhai and terminates near Zokhawthar on the India/Myanmar border.

In his reply to a question by Pala, Gadkari mentioned the number of weigh bridges being set up along NH-6 without “access permission” except for the weighbridge-cum-check post at Umtyra.

Four out of five weighbridges “have not been granted permission”, he informed.

To a query by Pala on the need to order a CBI inquiry to find erring officials, if any, involved in granting such permission for operation of these illegal weigh bridges, Gadkari said that the matter has been taken up with the Meghalaya government.

“The illegal weighbridges have damaged the national highway due to construction work, causing blockage of drains/culverts and subsequent traffic disruptions. The Meghalaya Government has been requested several times to rectify all the damages for overall safety of the road users,” the Union Minister said.

Pala has demanded of the Meghalaya government to shut-down all illegal weighbridges on National Highway 6 in the State.

“The government must close down these illegal weighbridges. How can the State government run these weighbridges without permission from the National Highways Authority,” the veteran Congress leader questioned on the basis of Gadkari’s revelations in the parliament.

 

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