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Sarma lays new PWD roadmap

Plans include three new flyovers in Guwahati, reforms in the lowest bidding system and tackling the increasing road levels

Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, May 9: As if setting his priority right, new State PWD Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has listed the activities that can make a turnaround of the department and its system full of aberrations. The grand scheme of the minister includes three new flyovers in Guwahati, bringing reforms in the lowest bidding system while offering contracts, and ironing out issues responsible for increasing heights of roads.
Talking to The Sentinel, Sarma said: “Traffic congestion in Guwahati has kept worsening. A flyover each at Supermarket Chowk, Fatasil Ambari and Ganeshguri criss-crossing the existing one can ease the situation. Preliminary works for these three flyovers are to begin soon. Time is of the essence. Two years have already elapsed, and I’ve just three years in hand.”    
On the irksome issue of increase in the height of roads in the city after every repair, Sarma said: “I want to bring some tangible and much-needed changes to the department. In the name of repair or renovation, the heights of roads in the State are going up, leading to numerous problems for others. I had raised this issue during the presentation of the budget in the Assembly. Something tangible is going to happen now with the arrival of three machines in the State. Such machines can dig up the top layer of an existing road before its repair or renovation. Only 30 per cent of the existing layer of a road can be used for fresh blacktopping above it. Such a practice won’t allow indiscriminate increase in road levels. We’re going to apply this in the roads of Guwahati first.”
On the lowest bidding (L-1) system, the minister said: “This system gives birth to problems. According to the directive from the High Court, we’re bound to offer contracts to the lowest bidders. However, some contractors bid even lower than the department’s estimated rates so as to get contracts. In most of the cases, such contractors leave works half-done and often resort to compromise in the quality of works. I’m going to take this matter seriously. We need to see as to how the situation can be tackled by taking measures to ensure contractors’ credentials.”
Half-constructed bridges and government buildings lying unused is a common scene in Guwahati, let alone elsewhere in the State. On this, Sarma said, “Such infrastructure lying unused leads to revenue loss. We need to see what’s wrong with the system. I want a system that can ensure automatic flow of funds so as to ensure completion of projects on time.”