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No end to wait for road

Shillong, Sept. 5: A road of 30.5km in West Garo Hills is yet to be completed even after 36 years.

Replying to a starred question raised by Kherapara legislator Phillipole D. Marak, PWD minister H.D.R. Lyngdoh told the Assembly today that the construction of the road from Dimapara to Deku Bazar started in 1976, four years after Meghalaya attained statehood.

The amount sanctioned for the construction was Rs 388.73 lakh, Lyngdoh said, adding that the delay in completion of the road was because of recurring heavy landslides causing damage to the road formation along a stretch covering 5km.

With several legislators from both benches posing supplementary queries to Lyngdoh, the minister said a detailed investigation was necessary before the road construction could be resumed. He also said an investigation would commence “soon”.

Rongchugiri legislator James P.K. Sangma wondered whether the government was awaiting the “golden jubilee celebrations” of the road before its completion.

As the voices became shriller, chief minister Mukul Sangma intervened and stated that there was a “missing gap” on the road along the stretch from 11km to 15km.

“In 2006, the government had sanctioned some funds for the missing portion of the road including construction of six bridges. But four of the six bridges were pre-closed in December 2008.”

Opposition leader Conrad K. Sangma asked the chief minister the reason for pre-closure of the bridges.

While indirectly blaming the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) government for the pre-closure of the bridges, the chief minister said the Opposition leader was finance minister when the cabinet took the decision.

An agitated Conrad said it is shocking that the chief minister was trying to shift the responsibility to the MPA government. “During the MPA government, we decided to de-sanction many projects since the financial health of the PWD was in a bad shape,” Conrad said.

Speaker Charles D. Pyngrope had to intervene in the war of words (between the two Sangmas) before the House could take up other starred questions.