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NH-53: Baudi Opposes PWD Takeover

IMPHAL, May 9: The Zeliangrong Baudi, Assam, Manipur and Nagaland (ZB-AMN) said today that it will oppose tooth and nail attempts by Congress-led Secular Progressive Front (SPF) government to hand over works on the National Highway 53 to State Public Works department (PWD) from Border Road Organization (BRO), terming the move as an attempt at expanding the “corruption wings of the State PWD.”

“What a ridiculous decision is that the cabinet of SPF government has decided to take over development of NH-53 from the BRO and the subsequent announcement by the works minister Mr. Ranjit,” said State secretary of Zeliangrong Baudi, Manipur, Poukham Meiringmei.

Accusing the PWD of siphoning off 90 percent of the Rs 15 crores in 2010 in connivance with Transporters and Drivers Council, the Zeliangrong Baudi challenged that before taking over the 222km-long NH-53, the PWD must convert IT Road (from Kangpokpi to Tamenglong district headquarters via Tamei), Kaiphundai-Tousem Road, Khongsang-Tamenglong Road, Old Cachar Road etc. into all weather roads and complete the long delayed Barak bridges at Namtiram and Dikiuram.

It said that until the PWD converts all inter village roads (IVRs) into all-weather motorable roads its claim to NH-53 would be just like asking for the moon and could be construed as “PWD is trying to expand its wing of corruption to the national highway after exhausting the State coffers through its corrupt agencies.”

“It is also noteworthy that Gauhati High Court had directed the State PWD to conduct a joint enquiry over the misuse and fraudulent withdrawal of more than Rs 10 crores each in the improvement works of IT Road and KT Road in connivance with contractors,” It further said.

The Baudi has therefore decided to oppose tooth and nail the “expansion of corruption wings of the State PWD under the patronage of the SPF government of Manipur into the national highway” and sought support from the public.

Meanwhile, the All Zeliangrong Students Union (AZSU), through its general secretary Nchaing Kompoing, said that it will stick to its guns until its demands are met and in defense of “violation of human rights and harassment” committed by 11 Assam Rifles in Zeliangrong areas of Manipur.

The students’ body said that military civic action (MCA) program of the Assam Rifles under Col. Chonkar is suspicious and accused the Assam Rifles in Zeliangrong areas of harassing trespassers and highway users by making district road and inter village roads out of bounds after 7 pm. “The suffering of the public do not stop after 7 pm – many patients, emergency services of officials and private parties continue to persist everyday even after 7 pm,” it said.

AZSU (AMN) thanked village chairmen and secretaries for turning down a meeting convened by 11 Assam Rifles on May 6. It said that the meeting was an attempt to showcase that Col. Chonkar has public support in the district but turned out to be a “flopshow.”

“Col. Chonkar tried to showcase in the public that he has support from public of the district but it turned out a flop show before Brigadier who came to grace the said meeting,” said the tribal students’ body.

According to the AZSU, out of 300 villages in the districts only 13 village chairmen attended the “flop show” meeting called by 11 Assam Rifles. They are Longpi, Longkaiphun, Vanchingphai, Namtiram, Aziuram, L Pabram, Ramgailong, Wairangba, New Salem, Gwangram, Model village, Bamgaijang.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)/ Newmai News Network)

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