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Contractor files complaint in HC against State govt

SHILLONG: A contractor has filed a case in the High Court of Meghalaya against the State government after a complaint was lodged against him by West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner Pravin Bakshi on the direction of Chief Minister Mukul Sangma in connection with a road construction project in NH 51 on the Tura-Dalu stretch.
Though the issue dates back to 2014, the contractor filed the case only in February this year.
According to the petitioner Tinker R. Marak, a first class contractor, the action of the deputy commissioner was following his complaint lodged with the Director General (R&D), Ministry of Road Transport and Highways regarding his unhappiness over the nature of allotment of contract work under PWD (Road) division.
Marak said though he had quoted the lowest rate, he was not allotted the work by the government prompting him to lodge a complaint with the concerned Union ministry which took action against the State government.
However, the Engineer PWD (Road) wing was upset over   the contractor writing to the Centre regarding the road project.
The lawyer dealing with the case on behalf of the contractor said that according to the petitioner, the direction given by the chief minister to the deputy commissioner on filing FIR with the SP was to victimize him for registering a complaint to the concerned Union ministry regarding the allotment of work.
The FIR lodged by the deputy commissioner with the West Garo Hills SP said that the chief minister directed him to take stern action against the contractor engaged in work allotted on NH 51 from Tura to Dalu stretch for which sub substandard and poor construction material has been found lying on the side of the road, “which is reflective of the intent of the contractor to cheat the government authorities and construct a road  which shall be of poor quality, hazardous to commuters and prone to natural disasters”.
Following this criminal case, he was black listed and some bills were withheld.
However, according to the petitioner, no other contractor who was entrusted with the work was implicated and filing of the criminal case against him was only meant to harass him.
He also pointed out the irony that the same rejected stones which were considered substandard by the government are being used by the contractor selected by the government to carry out the work.
It was after the petitioner was black listed that he decided to file a petition in the High Court, challenging the order of the department.
The case came up for hearing in March, but the government was given four week’s time to file reply. The next date for hearing is on May 11.

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