Will newly-laid town road be Christmas gift for Ukhrulites?

R LESTER MAKANG UKHRUL, 26th Nov: 
Will a newly-laid road in Ukhrul town that everyone is anticipating right now, be a Christmas gift for Ukhrulites or will the joy associated with it, be only short-lived? Either will definitely happen, of course.

But the warning is: those who are raising their hopes up too much could be in for a spell of frustration, when Christmas comes knocking in the midst of waiting for that gift. That is, if at all one goes by the way the current construction of the town main road is being executed.

There seems to be more factors than one that have come into play, playing havoc with the construction process whose tentative target for completion is before Christmas, though it is 26 January officially.

On November 15, construction of the long neglected thoroughfare commenced positively after years of oblivion in the eyes of the government, sweeping an upbeat mood across the township. However, the work had to be halted for the next two consecutive days, thanks to unexpected November rains.

One may recapitulate that the same work had already been halted earlier during the period leading to Shirui Lily festival this year, when seasonal monsoon played spoilsports at its best, forcing the carpeting to come off soon after laying.

In the meanwhile, poor residents of the township continued to battle with a broken roadway which stretches 5-kilometre across the heart of the township, the same losing battle they had fought for years in vain.

Now, as dry weather is restored, the spoiler has come in the form of a controversy surrounding the work, with local civil society organisations raising concerns over the quality of the work, especially after the newly laid premix carpet came off under the pressure of a roller at a portion between Hamleikhong and Dungrei Junction on November 23, even as officials of both National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) and Bharatia Infrastructure Private Limited (BIPL) have assured quality in the construction.

What followed then was a suspension call by CSOs of the work, bringing it to a grinding halt for yet another consecutive two days.

CSOs had claimed that the quality of the work did not match up with the specifications agreed upon in the contract and had called for a halt until quality is maintained.

Once again, workforce of the BIPL is out on the ground and resumed the work on Saturday, after Ukhrul district administration intervened on the matter and extracted a written assurance from the construction agency to fulfill the specifications of the contract work, during a joint meeting convened at DC office chamber on Friday.

For now, the work is resuming. But there seems to be no guarantee as yet given the vagaries of the factors that keep switching. So, two particular schools of thought that have emerged out of the situation are: one that would want the work to halt if any issues arise, and another that would not mandate the construction agency to halt the work at any cost and mend any errors as it proceeds.

Whichever side one may take, but the only thing is that the road work should ensure that waiting for the newly carpeted roadway as Christmas gift is not a wishful thinking for Ukhrulites!


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