TDC petitions PM over poor bridge job

STAFF REPORTER
IMPHAL, 28th Sep: Transportors and Drivers’ Council (TDC) has petitioned the Prime Minister over slow progress of construction of the new Barak and Makru bridges along Imphal-Jiribam (NH-37) road and attempts being made by the executing agency to make financial gains out of the projects by revising rates while citing numerous reasons.
According to TDC president H Ranjit, constructon of both Barak and Makru bridges was targeted to be completed by April, 2020 but only around 40 percent works have been completed till date. There were some hope of improving conditions of NH-37 road after National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) took over the road from Border Roads Organisation (BRO) around 3/4 years back. However, NHIDCL follows the same tactics BRO used earlier to earn money in the name of construction of bridges along the national highway. Citing law & order problem and bandh/blockade, NHIDCL has been delaying construction of the bridges apart from applying a hidden agenda to effect price escalation so as to revise estimated costs of the projects.
Instead of concentrating on construction of bridges, NHIDCL has been playing a delaying tactics and trying to stop plying of vehicles along the highway by writing to different departments, Ranjit said, adding that NHIDCL has been following modus operandi of BRO. Many officers who had earlier worked in BRO have now joined NHIDCL and they are following the earlier tactics of earning money in the name of construction of road and bridges. The matter has been apprised to Prime Minister Narendra Modi through a memorandum submitted on September 23 and also to Ministry of Road Transport and Highways on September 26, Ranjit said.
Addressing media persons at TDC office at MG Avenue Saturday, Ranjit said that condition of NH-37 road has improved but vehicles plying along the road are unable to reap benefit due to weak bridges. Amidst this, NHIDCL has been playing a hidden agenda to stop plying of vehicle along the road. In reality, the existing Barak and Makru bridges are of 40-tonne capacity but NHIDCL has been putting restriction on carrying maximum of 24 tonne while giving reference to BRO’s advice, Ranjit said, adding that NHIDCL has even written to transport department to implement the restriction.
Ranjit further said that transporters have to stop plying vehicle if asked to reduce load capacity as they could not bear transportation costs due to high fuel prices. He warned that NHIDCL shall be held responsible for any action taken up by TDC when Barak and Makru bridges fail to complete by April, 2020.


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