By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: Chaos ruled Don Bosco Square after overnight rains turned the area into a slush-zone making life difficult for the public, most of them students, on Thursday.
A drainage system project is in progress in the area which witnesses one of the busiest traffic situations in the city round the year and thanks to the time chosen for completion of the 15-year-old project, the youngsters had to brave the ‘quagmire’ and ‘squelchy bogs’ en route to their schools.
As city residents wondered if the project could have been put on hold for a few months considering the plight of the school goers, Urban Affairs Minister and MUDA Chairperson, Ampareen Lyngdoh, who is also the local MLA, justified the timing of the project stating that the decision has been taken after taking into consideration a lot of factors.
Speaking to The Shillong Times, Lyngdoh said that the 200-meter Storm Water Drain project undertaken at an estimated of Rs 76 lakh was proposed 15 years ago. But the implementation of the same was announced only in December last.
“Due to requests from certain groups on the occasion of Christmas, it was postponed to January-February. But after complaints from several institutions on the effects it might have on the board exams and other curriculum, the project was delayed again,” Lyngdoh said.
“It (the project) could not be delayed anymore with the Puja celebrations due in October followed by term-end exams in November and Christmas in December,” she said adding that the project was announced and delayed thrice and hence there was no scope for further delay.
She also stated that the MUDA ruled out handing over the project to the PWD after seeing its lackluster pace in implementing the Khyndai Lad beautification project.
“Temporary inconvenience is regretted,” Lyngdoh said adding that the MUDA has targeted to complete the project within a month.
Maintaining that this part of the city often suffers from severe floods which get worse every year, the Laitumkhrah legislator said if the problem is not tackled now it might endanger the lives of many in future.
City residents were nevertheless enraged by the timing of the project and many reacted frustratingly at the turn of events in the morning.
Speaking to The Shillong Times, Pynkhrawborlang Saiborne whose office is located in Laitumkhrah, said that even though the ‘no entry’ from Dhankheti towards Don Bosco Square has been lifted with a makeshift wooden bridge now for vehicles to pass both ways. He was of the opinion that the work could have been set aside for a few months.
Vimla Sarki, whose daughter studies in a school located at Don Bosco, said, “I urge the authorities to complete the work within the allotted time so that school students don’t have to combat moving vehicles and rainwater with mud in this junction for long.”
Commuters from Laban, Jhalupara, Ghrikhana etc., who have to take the Barik-Dhankheti-Don Bosco-Laitumkhrah route are among the worst sufferers due to the problems caused by the ongoing project.
Residents of Boyce Road, Lady Veronica Lane and Laitumkhrah have also questioned the timing of carrying out the civic work raising questions over the timely completion of the project.
“The sight of mudslinging with students combating rainwater and mire is disheartening. I don’t know the politics behind this but it could have surely been avoided at this time,” said Erriti Pde, a resident of Lummawrie.
Another resident from Boyce Road area said that with elections six months away the local MLA could have started the work in the last week of November when most schools close for the Winter break.