Defense, civic authorities in tussle over road

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: The alleged land grab by the defense authorities has become a regular phenomenon in Shillong. Such attitude on the part of the Army came to the fore once again on Thursday when a stretch of a dilapidated road connecting Laitumkhrah (Lumsohra), Goraline towards the Military Engineering Services (MES) was assured to be taken up by the MES instead of the State PWD.

Surprisingly, the MES is also claiming the ownership of the road even in those stretches with civilian habitations on both sides.

Actually, the MES Headquarter ends at the beginning of the bridge before reaching Goraline. But interestingly the defense authorities are claiming ownership of the stretch of the road beyond the bridge.

Official sources said that the State PWD had wanted to repair the road for quite some time now but could not do so as the road is claimed by the MES.

In the ensuing tussle over the ownership of the said road, the common man is badly suffering as the road has been lying in a dilapidated condition for the past many months.

The decision to repair the road was taken only after a joint inspection of the road was carried out by PWD Minister HDR Lyngdoh along with Urban Affairs Minister and local MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh and senior PWD officials last year.

Following the joint inspection, Lyngdoh asked PWD Chief Engineer SB Chyrmang to hold a meeting with the MES Headquarter Chief Engineer, Brigadier GS Kambo, for repairing of the road.

It was after the meeting of the two officials that the MES Chief Engineer assured that he would propose some programme for repairing of the road.

Meanwhile, the Urban Affairs Minister held a meeting with Brigadier Kambo who called on her in her office chamber to discuss the status of the proposed repair of the road.

Following the meeting, Ampareen informed that the MES had agreed to issue a tender for repair of the road by February 7.

The Urban Affairs Minister said that the road is very important since not only the people of Laitumkhrah but people from various other localities like Rynjah, Umpling and Nongrah use the road especially when there is traffic jam on other routes.

Meanwhile, she informed that Brigadier Kambo had complained to her over dumping of garbage by residents of the area along this road.

“I have personally seen that there is dumping of garbage throughout this road. I have assured that the Urban Affairs department would take steps to clean up the road. Actually, the cleaning of the road would start from Friday itself,” Ampareen said.

She also informed that she would also hold a meeting with the officer in-charge of Rynjah police station for taking measures to see that people do not commit nuisance on the road.

Meanwhile, Brigadier Kambo, when contacted, said that the maintenance of the road was the responsibility of the Army since it is a military asset.

When asked how the MES could claim ownership of the road even on those stretch which are outside their jurisdiction, he said that the ownership was decided together by the military and civic authorities at some point of time in the past and both parties should look after their respective assets.

Meanwhile, Brigadier Kambo also clarified he had been briefed about the road in October last year by Ampareen, even as he assured that the work is expected to start possibly by February end.

The Chief Engineer also brought out the issue of dumping of garbage on the road from Spread Eagle Falls to Rynjah, saying that the district administration needs to sensitize the locals to resist from such unlawful deeds and to ensure cleanliness.

He also added that the meeting with Ampareen was extremely productive to ensure improved trafficking and aesthetics of the entire road network of the area around Spread Eagle Falls.

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