State highway at Sopur caves in

* Costing Rs 33 crore, highway not even opened

* Locals allege PWD-Hitech Construction nexus

Our Correspondent

Dimoria, July 27:  Exposing the shoddy work being undertaken by the State Public Works department, a portion of the newly-constructed Sopur-Byrnihat alterte State highway caved in today, barely a month after its construction was completed.

The 14-km State highway connects Borkhat in Sopur to 14th Mile in Byrnihat via Kamaljari.

Around 70-metre stretch of the road caved in this morning at Xorutari-Borokdula.

The road was constructed by Hitech Construction, a firm owned by one BK Jain of Guwahati. It was built at a cost of Rs 33 crore.

The portion of the road which collapsed was built through a swamp, raising suspicion that the construction firm did not take appropriate safety measures. Questions have been also raised against the PWD for laxity in monitoring the works during the construction stage.

Locals, astonished at the collapse, alleged an unholy contractor-official nexus in the project. "We had told PWD officials that the area is a swamp. They need to take adequate care and proper measures while building the road. But nobody listened to us. We had suggested that the area should be first excavated and then filled with fresh earth before undertaking road construction," a local of Xorutoria said.

"Unless there is a nexus between the officials and the contractors, this would have never happened," he added.

It is learnt that neither any official from the PWD nor any representative from the construction firm visited the area today after the incident. This has caused further annoyance to the locals.

Dibyajyoti Medhi of All Assam Students Union's Dimoria unit alleged that despite the negligence and delinquency by the construction firm, the PWD officials preferred to look the other way. "This clearly points at nexus between the officials and the contractors. We demand a proper inquiry into the incident. Also, the road has to be reconstructed by adopting a scientific approach," the AASU leader added.

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