TMC flags threat to Umiam dam

Umiam bridge.(ST photo)

SHILLONG, Sep 12: The opposition Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Monday raised concern over the safety of the Umiam bridge due to the plying of overloading trucks.
Moving a short duration discussion on the second day of the autumn session of the Assembly, the TMC’s Umroi MLA George B Lyngdoh referred to the state government’s contention that the vibration levels of the vehicles crossing Umiam are safe enough for the longevity of the dam.
“We are not talking only about the vibration levels of the vehicles plying across the Umiam dam. What we are concerned about is the safety of the dam that is past the safety insurance for 50 years,” he said.
Lyngdoh wondered if the right materials were used to construct the dam bridge.
“The dam is under constant pressure. The government needs to ensure that it is safe and not subjected to overloading. Overloaded vehicles have been a major concern,” he said.
The Umroi MLA said he had been hearing about vehicles weighing more than 10 metric tonnes being restricted from crossing the Umiam dam. “But we see many heavy trucks and would like to know if the officers posted at the Lad Umroi junction bridge are mandated to check,” he said.
He also wanted to know who these officers are posted if there are no restrictions on heavy vehicles.
He pointed out that the replies given in the Assembly vary from the notifications and statements published by the media. “We are concerned because overloaded trucks are crushing the dam,” Lyngdoh said.
In his reply, Transport Minister Dasakhiatbha Lamare said the state government is concerned about the condition of the Umiam bridge.
“We have deployed our officers to ensure overloaded trucks do not damage the bridge. We are trying to find the best solution to this issue,” he said, adding that a consultant has been engaged to study the feasibility of constructing a new 500-metre dam.
The study is being carried out, he said.
Human rights violation in teachers’ case
Lyngdoh said the termination of the services of the contractual teachers in the first half of 2021 violated their human rights.
He said a group of TMC leaders had met Birbor Riangtem, the president of the Meghalaya Government Lower Primary Schools Contractual Teachers’ Association, who has been on an indefinite strike outside the secretariat for a few days now.
Expressing concern over the plight of the teachers, Lyngdoh said most of them have crossed the upper age limit, some are disabled and a few died.
He said the government violated the teachers’ right to employment and livelihood by ignoring them. He also said the TMC will keep pursuing the matter with the government until the sacked teachers are reinstated.
Riangtem has been on an indefinite hunger strike in front of the secretariat since September 7 demanding the reinstatement of the contractual teachers.
Earlier, Education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui ruled out taking back the 800 contractual teachers.
These contractual teachers were dismissed from government lower primary schools in January 2021. Some of them had been working on a contract for more than a decade.
When they began work, it was not mandatory to have cleared the MTET. The state government brought in this requirement in 2020.