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NH6 repair: VPP’s Syngkon stealing Conrad’s thunder?

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The government says CM took up the matter with the Centre
before the Shillong MP did

Our Bureau

SHILLONG/NEW DELHI, July 4: The state government on Thursday indicated Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma was the first to draw the Centre’s attention to the pitiable condition of the Jowai-Ratacherra stretch of National Highway 6 and not Shillong MP Ricky AJ Syngkon.
The PWD (Roads and Buildings) issued a clarification in this regard a day after Syngkon was given credit for the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) sanctioning Rs 290 crore for the repair and maintenance of the damaged stretch. The money includes Rs 90 crore to repair damages caused by landslides.
According to PWD (Roads and Buildings) Secretary LD Suchiang, the CM undertook the initiative for the finalisation of the Rs 290 crore repair project on June 24. He said the NHAI approved the proposal for strengthening and repair of NH6 between Jowai and Ratacherra with a financial implication of Rs 200.81 crore on October 17, 2023.
The secretary further said the project has been taken up in two packages and the tender for package-I for the strengthening or improvement work, including regular maintenance work, from km 69.2 to km 120.2 was finalised and the letter of acceptance was issued on February 7. The contract agreement was signed on March 8 for Rs 77.81 crore and the work commenced on March 23.
He also said the tender for the second package for the strengthening or improvement work, including regular maintenance work, from km 120.2 to km 171.455 was finalised and the letter of acceptance was issued on February 2 for a contract amount of Rs 122.99 crore. The contract agreement was signed on February 22 and the work commenced on March 22.
Concerning critical locations on NH6 and the preparation of a mitigation plan for the same, the department clarified that the NHAI selected THDCIL as the consultant to prepare the DPR for landslide mitigation and slope stabilisation at seven vulnerable locations, including addressing mudslide or landslide concerns at the Sonapur Tunnel area.
The department said a memorandum of understanding was signed between the NHAI and THDCIL on February 15 to prepare the detailed project report (DPR) for these seven locations. The DPR amounting to Rs 89.90 crore for these locations was submitted by THDCIL and forwarded to the regional office of the NHAI in Guwahati on June 18 for the allotment of the work or tendering. The sanction is awaited.
On Wednesday, Lok Sabha member from Shillong, Ricky AJ Syngkon called on MoRTH Minister Nitin Gadkari and discussed the condition of the Jowai-Ratacherra section of NH-6. He also met with the secretary and other top NHAI officials.
The officials told Syngkon that the money would be spent on repairing and maintaining the stretch. The amount includes Rs 90 crore for repairing damages caused by landslides.
“The work will start immediately after the ongoing monsoon in the region,” the Shillong MP said after the meeting.
Syngkon had dashed off a letter to Gadkari on Monday drawing his urgent attention to the pitiable condition of NH6 – a lifeline – which passes through four states including Meghalaya. The other states are Assam, Mizoram, and Tripura.
In his letter, Syngkon said people get stranded for days because of the pathetic condition of NH6 in the Jowai-Ratacherra section. The ordeal has continued for years causing hardship to the people and severe economic losses in a major part of the Northeast apart from loss of lives due to accidents, he pointed out.
He sought Gadkari’s intervention for immediate measures to alleviate the pain of the people of the region. He also advised long-term plans instead of patchwork.
On June 24, Sangma wrote on X after meeting Gadkari: “We are grateful to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway for sanctioning Rs 290 crore for the Jowai-Ratacherra Road (NH).”

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