Kohima, March 13 (MTNews): As the upgradation work of the National Highway-2 connecting Nagaland with Manipur misses another deadline, the Gauhati High Court Kohima bench, on Monday, has directed contractors undertaking the work to complete the road construction by May 30.
Justice Lanusungkum Jamir and Justice Kakheto Sema, while hearing a suo moto Public Interest Litigation have ordered the contractor M/S Fortune Groups to complete the long overdue project by May 30, 2023 failing which the Court said that a notice would be issued by the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) to blacklist the contractors.
The court said that the date extension was made on the condition that if the work is not completed on time, substantial costs would be imposed.
During Monday’s hearing, the Court also questioned the contractors for “playing with the public” by delaying work even after sufficient time was granted and directed that work should be completed without any compromise on the quality of work and that construction of work is done as per the existing Right of Way (ROW).
It may be recalled that the respondents, in the last court hearing, through an affidavit had claimed that minute assessment on the non-availability of the required width of 12 metres on one hand and standing impediments and obstructions on the other hand, as per its survey on February 24, 2023, has made it “next to impossible physically and technically” to complete the work by March 31 which was expected by the court.
Fortune Groups was granted the contract to upgrade the existing road from Kohima (Nagaland) to Mao (Manipur) encompassing 26.249 kilometers on September 30, 2020, at a sanctioned cost of Rs 315.63 crore, according to NHIDCL.
According to the contract, the construction began on November 20, 2020, and was expected to be completed by April 22, 2022.
Nevertheless, as the construction on the ground did not get started, the Court took up the matter on suo moto on March 2, 2022, claiming that the only highway, also known as the Trans Asian Highway, linking the two states is in a “deplorable condition.”
During a series of hearings, the authority engineer and contractors notified the court that the project would be finished by March 2023. Despite the extra time, project completion fell short of the deadline.
The court has listed the next hearing on April 12.