PHE-PWD feud drags on, roads remain unrepaired

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: The ‘cold war’ between the PHE department and the PWD over the implementation of the Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme (GSWSS) Phase III still remains unresolved.

The tussle between the two departments is over the reluctance of the PHE department to release the requisite funds to the PWD for repairing of the major and internal roads in the city which had been dug out to lay the main feeder pipes under the GSWSS Phase III.

Owing to the ‘cold war’ roads in various parts of the city have been damaged and lying in a state of non repair for the past several months.

It is found that there have been major damage of the roads since the PHE have been using JCBs for digging into the earth for laying the pipes.

Residents of various localities have been complaining against the delay in repair of the roads.

The efficiency of the contractors hired by the PHE to lay these pipes has also come under the scanner since it has been noticed that the contractors take weeks to lay the pipes along even a small stretch of the road.

It was also found that there are large numbers of main feeder pipes lying along the road opposite to the Shillong Golf Course since January last. These pipes have also damaged the drains along the Golf Course.

According to sources, the Lumshyiap Dorbar Shnong had given a ten-day deadline to the concerned contractor to complete the pipe laying work and the subsequent repair of the road, but the contractor is yet to comply with the Dorbar directive.

On inquiry into the reasons behind the delay in repair of the roads, a senior PWD official on Tuesday stated that the PWD was helpless since the PHE wanted to repair the road on its own.

“Normally, the road should be immediately repaired as soon as the feeder pipes are laid. We are also aware that people are suffering due to the delay in the repair of these roads where the pipes have been laid,” the PWD official said, while expecting that the new Government would be able to resolve the matter.

Earlier, during a meeting convened by Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma to pacify the feuding departments, the PWD had made it clear that the PHE should deposit the necessary amount for repair of the roads.

The PHE, however, remained adamant stating that the department would repair the road on its own.

“The PWD had made a valid argument that the PHE does not have the necessary skills and expertise in road construction and it should restrict itself in ensuring that the people of the State get clean drinking water,” sources informed.

However, the PHE officials argued that the PWD should not interfere into the functioning of the PHE.

Earlier, the project took nearly two years to take off after its inauguration due to a tussle between the PHE Department and the Meghalaya Urban Development Authority over who should implement the project.

The deadline for completion of Phase III of the GSWSS has been extended on more than one occasion after it was inaugurated by the then President Pratibha Patil on October 22, 2008.

The latest deadline for completion of the project is September 2013.