FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
Itagar, June 10: In a historic judgment, the Itagar permanent bench of the Gauhati High Court has reproached the PWD Aalo division for not maintaining the Pangin-Tai road under Trans-Aruchal Highway (TAH) project.
On Wednesday, Justice RK Phukan acting on a writ petition WP(C) no 288 (AP) 2016, filed by advocate Kemo Lollen, while observing that no construction work has been undertaken by the department in the stretch of the road, directed the PWD Aalo division to reply within three weeks.
The court further directed the department not to segregate any amount from the sanctioned fund until further order.
Earlier on March 14 last, the PWD commissioner had sanctioned one crore vide an official for maintence of the Pangin-Tai, (NH-229) road, which passes through Aalo.
Granting administrative approval, the PWD commissioner had directed the department to utilize the fund ‘within the specified time and strictly for the purpose’ for the maintence of the road.
The department was further directed not to divert the sanctioned fund.
It may be mentioned here that the state government had sanctioned the fund for the immediate renovation of the Aalo to Bam portion of the road in September 2015, following hue and cry over the deplorable condition of the road. In his petition, Lollen questioned the department for lack of maintence of the road despite the state government awarding the sanction for the work.
Stating that the right to have good road is a fundamental right enjoined under Article 21 of the Constitution, Lollen lamented that the road conditions from Bam to Aalo, under Pangin-Tai TAH was in a deplorable condition due to lack of maintence.
He said the poor conditions of the road posed a great inconvenience to the general public of West Siang, Upper Siang, Upper Subansiri and newly created Siang district. Lollen said people face extreme difficulty travelling on the 40 km Aalo-Bam stretch of the road. “How long the people would continue to suffer bad roads? It is the obligation of the Public Works department and other agencies of the state to provide public means of communication in good and proper condition. There cannot be any justification for the bad roads,” he said.
Lollen said that as per the Constitution, every person is entitled to good roads and it is a necessity for a good life.
Expressing apprehension that the fund for the maintence of the road would be diverted, Lollen said the department was yet to float NIT for the maintence of the road.
Interestingly, even as debate rages on the lack of maintence of the road, earth-cutting work resumed on the Aalo-Bam stretch of the road under TAH on May 21 last. M/s TK Engineering Consortium Ltd is executing the work even as union MoRTH Ministry is yet to sanction Rs 37.70 crore submitted by the highways department.