Three days after incessant rain brought to light the shoddy construction of the 48-crore Inter-State Bus Terminus at Mawlai Mawiong, the government has finally broken its silence on the issue.
Stating that the government will get to the root of it and “if needed”, fix the parts of the terminus that have worn off, deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong, on May 19, said that contractors and officers who were entrusted with the responsibility of ISBT’s construction will be taken to task but ruled out institution of any formal inquiry to probe the matter.
“If there has been any lapse in the construction, officers, who looked after the project, will be punished. We are not technical experts and that is why, they were entrusted with the job of supervising the work at the terminus,” Tynsong said.
He further informed that the government has already put in place a system wherein bills prepared by the sub-divisional officers (SDOs) and junior engineers (JEs) will only be released to the contractors if the concerned authorities are satisfied with the ground work.
Tynsong also stressed that questions on the building’s safety doesn’t arise as the terminus “is not a threat to the safety of the people”. “The building is safe. We have already asked the engineers concerned, the SDOs and the technical wing, to do whatever is necessary and fix the leakages and cracks,” said Tynsong.
Earlier on May 14, the matter came to light after media reports revealed that the terminus has developed cracks and leakages all over its premises following torrential rains and after only six weeks of being operational. The reports led Right to Information (RTI) activist and Thma U Rangli-Juki (TUR) member Angela Rangad appeal to the chairperson of Meghalaya Lokayukta to conduct an investigation into the shoddy construction of the terminus on May 16. The incident had also prompted several quarters to demand for immediate inquiry into the alleged “criminal negligence”.
Earlier during the day, Hek, while inspecting of the ISBT following allegations of shoddy construction of the terminus, informed that he will take up the matter with the Centre and the North Eastern Council (NEC), the funding authority of this project.
Speaking about the “appalling” work at the terminus and probe demanded by some into the substandard quality of work, the legislator said that according to his observation the facts are to be ascertained before zeroing down on labelling charges of corruption.
He further said that it is the responsibility of the government to monitor all public work as the safety of the people is the primary concern, and the matter will be discussed in a meeting, after which all necessary actions will be taken.
He also added that the central scheme monitoring committee will monitor implementation of all such schemes and check if the funds received under them are properly utilised in the state.
“Be it the central or state government schemes, they have to be fully utilised as failure to do that will show the state in bad light,” he said.