Deputy Chief Minister in charge of PWD (Roads) Prestone Tynsong said that there is no specific information that NGOs are disturbing the progress of work with regard to the construction of the Shillong-Dawki road project.
“I am yet to know that. But if necessary, I am telling you at my level I can even call (for a meeting with the NGOs) if we have that kind of complaint from the concerned companies who are undertaking the construction works,” Tynsong told reporters.
His statement came in the wake of the recent order passed by the Meghalaya High Court, which directed the need to keep the “unwelcome interference” by the NGOs at bay to ensure the smooth completion of the Shillong-Dawki road project.
Tynsong however informed that the project is facing a lot of challenges and said, “Even with the land owners where we need to convince them, discuss with them, it takes a lot of time doing that as the land tenure system we have in the state of Meghalaya is totally different so we need to discuss with all stakeholders.”
“But of course, even the NGOs need to understand that this is the lifeline of the state where Dawki to Shillong is so important (for) the tourists and even the economic activities that are going on we need to complete it (project) at the earliest possible,” he added.
On March 28, the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) complained before the Meghalaya High Court that both the delay on the part of the State to hand over land and the constant interference by NGOs with ulterior motives have scared the contractors away and new contractors are reluctant to bid for the two packages.
It had reported that work is proceeding on three of the packages but the contractor identified to undertake the first package, which includes the construction of the said flyover, has abandoned the site because of increased cost estimates.
It is almost a similar situation for package five as the contractor originally engaged has abandoned the work.
In view of this, the Court had directed the State to request its representatives to liaise with NHIDCL to indicate timelines for further construction, including the construction of the first package, which includes the flyover, and the final stretch into Dawki.
“The State should extend all cooperation to NHIDCL as, at the end of the day, the benefit goes to the State and primarily the people living here. There is no doubt that the State and the NHIDCL can sit across the table to chalk out a plan so that the disruption of traffic is as little as possible during the construction of the flyover and other stretches of the Shillong-Dawki road,” the Court had stated in its order.