Tale of the two costliest residential buildings in Meghalaya

Former Chief Justice Uma Nath Singh occupied building without completion certificate being issued

A portion of the residence of the Chief Justice of
the High Court of Meghalaya. (ST)

SHILLONG: The Rs 15 crore new residential complex of the chief justice of the High Court of Meghalaya has raised many an eyebrow, but a comparison of the costliest residential buildings in the State reveals that the chief minister’s Good Wood Bungalow at Oakland, edges out Rockside Bungalow, the residential building of the chief justice in terms of the estimated amount for construction of only the residential building.
Incidentally, the total cost of the permanent building of the High Court was Rs 12 crore.
Ironically, as per an official source, former Chief Justice Uma Nath Singh and his wife had occupied the new residential building last year even before getting the completion certificate.
The building was officially inaugurated on October 13 last year though 30 per cent of work of the complex is still remaining to be completed. However, the chief justice vacated the building after a stay of three months on January 14 this year.
After the foundation stone was laid by the then Chief Justice of the High Court of Meghalaya P.C. Pant, three years ago, the target for completion was fixed for this year.
Earlier, through a suo moto case, former Chief Justice Singh took steps to address the delay in completion of the residential building as he wanted to occupy the building at the earliest.
Through an order, he had even pulled up the contractor and executive engineer (electrical) citing faults in electrical fittings, and froze their bank accounts and fixed deposits besides those of the  sub-ordinate staff of electrical department. Later, prompt action from the electrical department to rectify the problem led to de-freezing of the accounts.
As per official data available with The Shillong Times, the amount spent till date for the chief minister’s official residential building alone is over Rs 10 crore out of the total estimated cost of over Rs 19 crore for the completion of the entire complex, whereas the cost for construction of the official bungalow of the chief justice alone is Rs 9 crore out of the estimated cost of Rs 15 crore for the entire complex.
Till date, Rs 7 crore has been spent (paid to the contractor) for the construction of the official bungalow of the chief justice.
The residential building of the chief justice includes guest room, four bedrooms, TV room, dining room, kitchen, banquet hall, library, study room and laundry, besides others.
In addition to the Rs 10 crore spent only on the residential building of the chief minister, there were other expenditures worth crores of rupees incurred for the entire complex.
As far as the Good Wood Complex of the chief minister is concerned, the amount spent for renovation of the existing Good Wood Bungalow (Assam type building) was Rs 1,03,04,833, while the money spent for construction of the new building for the chief minister’s residence was Rs 8,59,54,438.47 which was awarded to contractor Motibor Kharkrang.
Though the expenditure for renovation of the existing Good Bungalow (Assam type building) was shown as 1,03,04,833, the actual amount paid to the contractor Banteidor Lyngdoh (currently KHADC MDC) was Rs 1,05,05,333.
In addition, the expenditure incurred for the internal approach road, part of the complex, was Rs 7,11,338.
Another expenditure of Rs 97,93,994 was incurred for construction of the boundary wall with ornamental grill.
Moreover, Rs 37,45,984 was spent on the retaining wall (external boundary of Good Wood complex). Other expenditure for the internal and external electrification works (including telephone and cable TV lines) was Rs 68,98,017.
Besides, the money spent for the installation of generator set was Rs 16,84,192.
The expenditure incurred for the installation of Fire Detection and Fire Protection System was Rs 19,99,591, while Rs 5,90,370 was spent for installation of transformer, drawing of high tension lines, load security, shifting of low tension poles and others.
The total expenditure incurred till date under these nine heads is over Rs 12 crore (Rs 12,16,82,758).
In addition, an estimated amount of Rs 6.96 crore (Rs 6,96,36,265) was proposed for setting up of advanced electronic security surveillance system for the complex, but the work is yet to be sanctioned.
If the proposed estimate of over Rs 6.96 crore for electronic surveillance system is approved, the total cost for the entire residential complex of the chief minister will be over Rs 19 crore (Rs 19,13,19,023).