NCHISF demands CBI inquiry against NHAI

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Suroj Barman

HAFLONG, Jan 10: The North Cachar Hills Indigenous Students Forum (NCHISF) has demanded both the centre and the state governments to initiate an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe into misappropriation of funds by National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) in the name of improvement of National Highway-54E known as East West Corridor in Dima Hasao district.

A team of NCHISF recently visited deplorable road of NH-54E to take stock of the situation and urged the government to take up the issue of improvement of the road stretch immediately.

“We demand both the Centre and the state government to conduct CBI inquiry against NHAI for misappropriation of public funds in the name of improvement of the highway. The government should ensure that the road portion be improvement. If no action is taken the NCHISF will be compelled to organize agitation program in coming days,” NCHISF president David Keivom told reporters here.

“The road stretch is full of potholes. No improvement work has been done by the NHAI. Even as the authority engaged some contractors for improvement of the highway, there is no physical progress. The students and patients have to bear the brunt of the situation,” he said.

“Last year, the NHAI sanctioned 4.5 crore for improvement of the road stretch, but till date no work or improvement has been seen so far. On November 13, NHAI regional officer Alok Kumar during his visit informed us that the NHAI had already sanction Rs 54 crore for maintenance of NH-54E. He also informed us that the work will commence from 1st week of December. To our utter surprise, no work has so far been done here,” Keivom added.

In October last the Regional Officer, NHAI had sought technical help from the Japanese expert Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to fight frequent landslide that occurs in the construction area. The RO also informed that the engineer from JICA has taken stock of the situation of the road and were advising the construction firm.

In the year 2011, a construction firm JKM Infra was engaged by NHAI for the constructing of the stretch road. After working for 5 years the firm allegedly drew crores of rupees by providing fake bills and documents. However the NHAI suspended and ‘blacklisted’ the JKM from works and remand all their machineries. The NHAI also filed a case with Delhi high Court against the firm for pforging documents and non- completion of works.

Many firms and agents working in the hills district had also been involved in creating false alibis blaming extremist problems and environmental issues for non-completion of works. People have alleged that the contractor association and NHAI are involved in massive corruption.

The construction of the road began in 2007 but has been remain neglected, however several firm were awarded for maintenance of the road but done sub standard work that caused lost of properties of people residing near the highway area due to water logging. Patients, students and elderly people are the greatest sufferers as the road gets waterlogged even after a light shower.