By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: The State Government may have decided to construct the four-lane road along the existing stretch of the highway at Umsning, but a cross-section of opinion makers feel that the four-lane road should be constructed along the Umsning Bypass.
The Shillong Times spoke to a cross-section of people to seek their opinion on the controversy surrounding the project which arose when the State Government decided to construct the road from the existing Umsning highway even as the DPR prepared earlier provisioned for construction along the Umsning Bypass.
Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly, Conrad Sangma, said that the Government should decide in the greater interest of the people.
“Once the Government takes a decision on the matter they should stick to that decision unequivocally,” Sangma stated.
Former bureaucrat, Toki Blah hinted that there was a lot of politics involved in the project besides catering to the interests of the vested groups.
“I don’t understand why the four-lane road cannot go through the Umsning Bypass as whenever a town comes in between the project then the road should go from the Bypass,” Blah added.
Echoing similar views, Donkupar Sumer, Chairman of the Joint Action Committee, a conglomerate of Ri-Bhoi NGOs, said, “Our stand remains the same. We want the Government to construct the road from the Umsning Bypass.”
According to Sumer, the latest decision of the Government to construct the four-lane road through the existing highway will delay the entire process since a DPR has to be prepared, besides taking care of several other formalities.
Urban Affairs Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh said, “There should not be interference by the community or any civil society in the developmental project. The department should not allow constant interference into the progress of the project.”
Ampareen said that people should not be made to suffer at any cost, while adding that it was high time that the Government went ahead with a concrete decision regarding the project.
RTI activist Michael Syiem also stated that the Government should stick to the original alignment which was decided upon earlier by the NHAI and the State Government.
Nongpoh Dorbar Shnong demands speedy completion of project
The Nongpoh Dorbar Shnong on Wednesday expressed concern over the delay in expansion of the highway into a four-lane road, stating that construction was yet to pick up in Nongpoh, Our Nongpoh Correspondent adds.
The Dorbar appealed to the State Government and the implementing agency, Ramky Infrastructure Company, to speed up the construction process in the portion of the highway under Nongpoh jurisdiction.
B Lyngdoh, local headman of Nongpoh, said that due to the ongoing construction of the four-lane road, school children and local people have been facing difficulty in moving around since many footpaths meant for the public have been destroyed for the expansion of road.