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Friday, May 24, 2024

Corrupt practices exposed?

Sir

Meghalaya has been facing nature’s fury and tumultuous weather for the last few weeks, causing havoc all over the state. Reports of landslides and floods have been flooding the media, with some people having lost their lives in fatalities caused by the incessant rains.

The impact of the prevailing weather conditions is still being felt, but nature miraculously also exposed the shoddy construction of the Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT) at Mawiong.

The ISBT was inaugurated on July 24, 2021 after much delay and became functional on April 1 this year. Surprisingly, just six weeks after becoming functional, the heavy rain exposed the inferior construction of the building. There were posts flooding social media showing cracks and rainwater leaking from certain areas of the building. The bus terminus constructed at a cost of Rs 48.31 crore funded by the North Eastern Council (NEC), falls under the Transport Department.

This has revealed the lackadaisical attitude and negligence on the part of the contractor, as well as the PWD (National Highway Division) and the Transport Department, that could even endanger human lives. The cracks that are appearing show the sub-standard quality of products that have been used while constructing the building as this cannot be due to wear and tear but due to de-bonding of blocks which is a common construction problem especially when sub-standard products are being used. All of these point to the fact that the Transport Department failed to examine the construction and structural integrity of the
building.

The ISBT has also been in the news for the excessively high rates that the passengers are being charged. As per media sources, the local taxis charge a whopping Rs 300-800 per trip to ferry passengers between Shillong and the ISBT, a problem that the Transport Department still has not been able to solve.

At this point, one can only wonder what is the concerned department going to do and what are the actions that are going to be taken? Corrupt practices have been going on for decades in the different government departments and this is not something new. All concerned departments should take the blame for what has come out in the open, because clearly all indications point to the lackadaisical attitude of them all.

The Transport Department has much to do, many issues to solve, one of which is the heavy traffic jams that can be seen plaguing Shillong, conditions of which are getting worse every single day. The ISBT was proposed with a thought to make Shillong breathe easy and make travelling easier for people, but even this has been plagued by various issues, ranging from the exorbitant fares to the newly-exposed shoddy construction of the building.

Corruption exists in all forms and the worst kind is when officers, administration and certain departments act on enriching themselves and their personal interests without keeping in mind the interest of the public. Just recently, images of the damaged condition of the Mawlai bypass bridge could be seen, a matter of grave safety concern for the commuters and pedestrians who use this route for travelling. This also goes to show the sub-standard way the bridge was constructed. How long are we the people going to suffer due to the irresponsibility and corrupt practices of certain departments in the government who could careless about issues that need to be resolved?

Pynshngain Lyndem
Shillong -793002

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