IMPHAL: Normal vehicular movement along the Imphal-Saikul road was severely crippled on Saturday as volunteers of Peace and Development Coordinating Committee (PDCC) Khundrakpam went on a 24-hour bandh along the road stretch demanding the State Government to take up necessary actions against the erring officials of the Works department and to complete the Yumnam Patlou bridge work at the earliest.
Since early morning, a large number of protestors came out to the street and blocked the state highway at Pangei Bazar. Commuters who were passing through the road were forced back by the Bandh supporters. Many police personnel were seen deployed at Pangei Bazar, Sambrei, Yumnam Khunou and other areas to prevent any unwanted incidents.
PDCC General Secretary Thoudam Hemjit told reporters that State government in April 2016 issued work order to construct a new Yumnam Patlou bridge as the 70-year old obsolete bridge was causing inconveniences and mishaps to the people. The work order was awarded to one contractor L Tarpon, who failed to commence the work even as the time schedule was over, prompting PDCC to call a bandh on December 26, 2017.
Following strong pressures, construction of the bridge commenced. However, the contractor started construction defying the construction norms/prescribed work schedule except for some half-hearted attempts at mere extension of the bridge. As such, PDCC lodged a complaint with the Works minister and Chief Engineer. However, they turned deaf ears to the appeals of the people and the committee, prompting the Committee to approach the Chief minister on Meeyamgi Numit. Chief Minister also instructed PWD chief engineer to investigate in the matter and take action against the erring officials and contractor.
After the complaint of the committee eventually reached every higher ups, officials from the Department concerned, contractors and PDCC went on an inspection trip to the work area on January 19 and after conducting necessary survey/tests, the EE of Imphal West recommended for a joint meeting after finishing the necessary procedures. However, without any meeting, on January 22, the contractor began pouring the slabs of the bridge, he claimed adding that it was found that the EE himself had approved of the work.
Alleging that officials of Work department in cahoots with the contractor are looting money, he said what the committee demands is to book such looters of public money.
Stating that the present government led by Chief Minister has suspended many police constables and small employees for taking Rs.10 or 100, he questioned why the government failed to take action against the officials of Works department and contractor who are looting huge public money.