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Whither accountability and public concern?

PWD, GMDA BLAME GAME

Over 75 Guwahati roads yet to be restored after digging them up for water supply projects

Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, May 4: How can Guwahatians repose faith in the Guwahati Development Department (GDD) and its project implementing agencies that have time and again failed to restore roads after virtually damaging them for laying water supply pipelines? For Guwahatians, it is veritably a Hobson’s choice – either potable water or good roads, but not both!
The practice of damaging roads for laying pipelines right in the middle of roads and leaving them without restoration for years together is glaringly visible in Guwahati, let alone remote areas in the State. The worse part is that that PWD (Road) and GMDA keep on passing the buck on each other on restoration of roads. While GMDA says the onus of restoration of such roads after digging them up lies with the PWD (Road), PWD (Road) maintains that the onus of road restoration lies with water supply project implementing agencies like GMDA, Guwahati Jal Board and AUIIP. It further says that only the implementing agencies can say when the roads will be restored to their original shapes.  
According to his own statistics, this reporter has a list of some 75 roads in Guwahati that have been left without restoration after carrying out digging activities for laying water supply pipes and other purposes. This is despite the standing order from the Kamrup (M) district administration for restoration of roads within a stipulated time by the construction companies after completion of their projects. What is happening now is that the denizens of the city have to sacrifice their right to get proper road infrastructure if they are to get potable water. However, even after damaging a good number of roads in the name of laying pipes, the authorities concerned have not been able to cater to the need of potable water of a large number of families in the city.
GMDA says it has carried out digging activities in ten main roads and 224 link roads and by-lanes in connection with the South Guwahati West Water Supply Scheme. It claims that most of the roads have been restored. However, a few of them are still to be restored. “We’ve given the responsibility of road restoration after digging activities to PWD,” a GMDA official said.
PWD (Road), on the other hand, says it has carried out digging activities in 91 roads in Guwahati for the Guwahati Water Supply Scheme. “While the restoration work of 41 of them has been over, the remaining 50 roads are still to be restored,” it said.
According to information emanating from PWD (Road), JAICA has dug up as many as 31 roads in connection with the Guwahati Water Supply Scheme. However, it has restored only 17 of them, leaving the remaining 14 roads that include the GS Road, the GG Road, the Kharguli-Noonmati Road, the RK Choudhury Road, Cycle Factory Road, GS-GG Link Road, Satijoimoti Road, Kahilipara Film Studio Road, Dispur-Kacharibasti Road, Hem Baruah Road, MC Road, Nabagraha Road, Kahilipara-Dakshingaon Don Bosco Road and the Birubari-Rupnagar Road aside.   
In many cases, PWD has said the restoration works are not “as per specification by JAICA”. The restoration works of most of the roads have been shown as partially complete. According to highly placed sources in PWD, the department is not happy with the restoration work of roads. “A number of roads that were restored in a shoddy way after carrying out digging activities have been damaged again. AT Road in the city was restored after carrying up digging activities, but it has been damaged again. The Six Mile-Jayanagar Road has been lying without restoration for about four months. Only sand has been used to fill the canal dug out to lay water supply pipes. The road is not fit to be used. I had to seek an investigation from PWD and GDD into the delay in restoring this road to its original shape, but no inquiry has been ordered even today,” an official said.   
According to PWD (Road), 11 of the 19 roads which were excavated by it in connection with the Guwahati Water Supply Project under PWRD Guwahati City are yet to be restored. The 11 roads are KK Handique Path, Nayanpur Road, Dilip Huzuripath at Sarumotoria, Madhuban Path at Hengrabari, Gokul Path which is a by-lane of Dr  Zakir Hussain Path, Shivamandir Path at Nandanpur at Japorogog, Anandapur Road at Japorigog, Pragati Path near Downtown Hospital, SBI Colony by-lane No. 2 at Sarumotoria, KN Express Way and Dr Zakir Hussain Road.
This apart, 22 of the 32 roads dug up by JICA/Gamon/Urban Water Supply have not been restored as yet. The 22 roads are Rajgarh Road, Pub Sarania Main Road, Pub Sarania By-lane 6, Sankardev Path at Pub Sarania, Saheb Tilla Road, Commerce College Link Road, Rajgarh Link Road, Rupali Path, RGB Road, MT Road at Nerengi, Lakhimi Path, Pinaki Path, Giri Path at Geeta Nagar, Narikolbasti Main Road, Baikunthapur Main Road, Chinaki Path at Geeta Nagar, Narikolbasti By-lane 5, Anupam Path, By-lanes 8, 2 and 5 of MT Road and Juri Path.
The lack of accountability on the part of the GDD is palpable when it says with disdain that only the implementing agencies like GMDA, Guwahati Jal Board and PWD Road can say when the ongoing water supply projects started way back in 2009 in Guwahati will be completed.