Sunday, August 14, 2022

After advisory, Khaghaboto Area Kukami Kuqhakulu asks PWD to inspect RCC bridge

Staff Reporter

Khaghaboto Area Kukami Kuqhakulu (KTKK) has appealed to the Nagaland Public Works Department (NPWD) to depute technical experts within two weeks to inspect and verify the Shozukhu-Zukihe RCC bridge for the convenience of people.
KTKK has drawn attention of NPWD engineer-in-chief directing Dimapur deputy commissioner (DC) to issue public advisory against plying vehicles on the RCC bridge over the Dhansiri river at Szukhu-Zukihe until given clearance by the department.
Funded by North Eastern Council under Non-lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) scheme, work on the Rs 603.17lakh two-lane RCC bridge commenced in 2006-07.
Taking all technical inputs and correction required into consideration during the process of completing the bridge, KTKK questioned NPWD why no such assistance was provided during the 11 month period in its endeavour to complete the bridge and why it had issued the instruction for issuing the public advisory three months after the bridge’s inauguration.
Addressing media persons at Khaghaboto village here on Thursday, KTKK leaders demanded that the department depute experts within two weeks to inspect and verify the structure of the bridge.
They mentioned that since the bridge was lifeline of the area, they would not allow stopping of public movement on the bridge, adding that if at all it was not safe, then the department should come up with an alternative arrangement immediately.
They warned that if any inconvenience occurred while plying on the bridge, than the department and the administration would be held responsible.
Narrating details of construction, KTKK chairman Vikato Aye and general secretary Khuheto Zhimomi, Village Council chairman Shiwoto Katty Zukhihe, Kaghaboto Area Youth Front president Kivito Awomi, public leader Kakheto Chishi and Nuiland District GB Association president Jepitoshe L Jakha recalled that the work was awarded to M/s PABSCON in 2007 and with the mandate to complete it within 24 months.
However, they said the work stopped midway for reasons best known to the contractor and the department when Kahuli Sema was PWD (R&B) Dimapur division executive engineer after six pillars were erected.
They added that it was abandoned though many appeals were made by public amidst blame-game between the department and contractor over work quality and fund.
Taking strong exception to the issue, gaonburahs of Khaghaboto appealed to the department and contractor in April and May 2017 to sort out the differences within 15 days, which they failed to comply with. Hence, KTKK conveyed its displeasure to the parties on May 23, 2017 for not having any concern for the well-being of the inhabitants of the area comprising 17 villages un-der Khaghaboto area and 38 villages under EAC Aghunaqa block.
This led KTKK to resort to its own course of action for completing the bridge by resolving to immediately initiate resumption of work with its own resources with public support, while asking NPWD to cooperate.
Thereafter, the body took it upon itself to raise funds in an attempt to complete the bridge. Around Rs 80 to 90 lakh was crowd-sourced with which it hired technical experts to lay a deck on the north bank covering 40 feet, while one more deck was required to fill the gap. On February 21, 2020, it was reported that construction of the bridge remained incomplete despite full utilisation of sanctioned amount. In this regard, expenditure incurred for site visit and bridge assessment and other related work of the technical team engaged by PWD was borne by KTKK as the government was not providing fund towards such heads. The expert committee, after thorough investigation, had submitted its report to the PWD.
After consultation with the public of the area, KTKK said they apprised PHE minister Jacob Zhimomi, who is also the local MLA, of the indifferent attitude of NPWD and appealed for re-sumption of construction work, which was left abandoned for the past 13 years, in the interest and welfare of the public as people living across the river had suffered untold hardships due to lack of a proper bridge linking them with Dimapur district.
Taking cognisance of the matter, Jacob then wrote to NPWD to resume the work at the earliest. Thereafter, M/s Jayzee Construction was ordered to take over the incomplete bridge. However, several months had elapsed without any communication from the department to KTKK.
Finally, after much confusion and contradictions and in a major relief to villagers living in Khaghaboto and Aghunaqa areas under the newlycreated Niuland district, the bridge was finally completed by a local contractor and inaugurated on February 12, 2022 by Zhimomi in the presence of villagers and a host of dignitaries, including Information Technology & Communi-cations, NRE and Science & Technology, adviser Mmhonlumo Kikon, Niuland deputy commissioner Ajit Kumar Verma and former MLA Hewoto Awomi.
On the allegations made in social media by an individual over an RTI query, the KTKK leaders clarified that they were not against RTI being filed against the department but were dismayed over the allegations that it was an “election bridge”.
They stressed that such false allegations should not be made unless the individual had a thorough, in-depth and detail knowledge about the construction and hardships the area had been through. They mentioned that the poles were erected on both sides of the bridge to stop plying of heavy trucks since these damaged the road. They assured that the poles would be removed completely after the monsoon.


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