Pressure mounts for probe into tawdry ISBT work

Activist knocks on Lokayukta doors

SHILLONG, May 16: Social activist Angela Rangad on Monday urged the Meghalaya Lokayukta chairperson, Bhalang Dhar, to investigate the alleged shoddy construction of the Inter-State Bus Terminal (ISBT) at Mawlai Mawiong,
In her complaint, she said the year-old ISBT structure has developed major cracks within a year of construction.
Rangad said the cracks and the leaking ceiling of the ISBT reflect the lack of monitoring of the contractors and construction agencies by the officials of the state PWD. The Transport Department, too, failed in examining the structural integrity of the project before it was handed over, she added.
“Corrupt practices by the contractors or the construction company in executing this public infrastructure project are evident, as is the conflict of interests in the execution of the project. Therefore, I appeal to you to investigate this,” the social activist said in her complaint.
She pointed out that the ISBT was inaugurated in July 2021 by the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah but became functional only six weeks ago.
BJP state president, Ernest Mawrie said any contractor unable to deliver quality projects according to specifications should be blacklisted.
Speaking to media persons here on Monday, he said it was unfortunate that the ISBT inaugurated by Shah is in such shape.
Stressing the need to maintain the quality of work for ensuring the safety of hundreds of people who throng the ISBT, Mawrie lamented the poor execution of roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects in the state.
“The government must take strong action wherever the quality of work is compromised,” he said.
The Rs 48.31-crore ISBT project was sanctioned by the DoNER Ministry through the North Eastern Council on January 28, 2013. The PWD (Roads) had floated the tender and the project was awarded to Dhar Construction Company.
Pointing out that the Assam government awards major projects to big companies, Mawrie said Meghalaya does not have good firms for constructing roads and bridges.
“The Centre provided the state with huge finds for utilising in a proper way. I will not remain silent if any irregularities are found in the construction of the ISBT,” he said.
Mawlai legislator PT Sawkmie also expressed his shock over the ISBT building leaking after the first showers of the year in Meghalaya.
Asking the government to issue an order to the contractor to repair the building, he said the department may face problems if the contractor is allowed to go scot-free.
He also said the buses coming from outside the state are not parking at the ISBT because there is no clear-cut order. The government should ensure that they park in the ISBT and not enter Shillong, he added.
Earlier, the pressure groups including the HNYF and the KSU alleged a potential scam in the ISBT project. The former said the inferior quality of construction indicated “large-scale corruption”.
KSU’s Lambokstar Marngar said the Transport Department should find out the reasons behind the cracked walls and leaking ceiling of the ISBT and appropriate action should be taken against people who were involved in the shoddy construction work.

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