M/s TTC Infra India’s
Press Release – 09/02/2024
The Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) of Wokha District, Nagaland are compelled to issue this rejoinder to the Press Release issued by M/s TTC Infra India dated 08/02/2024:
1. Apropos the second paragraph of M/s TTC Infra India’s Press Release where, on the issue of Right of Way(ROW), it is stated “… The ROW is in the exclusive domain of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), the State Government, the District Authorities and the Office of the Chief Engineer, PWD (NH)…”, we support their assertion in so much as our fight has been against the non-action from the part of the concerned authorities in clearing the obstacles for development of our roads.
2. However, we outrightly reject the assertion of M/s TTC Infra India in the same paragraph where it is claimed “In these stretches (where the ROW issue has been cleared), the contract project has been completed according to the specifications”. It is a blatant lie on their part to say they have executed the work according to specifications as our very fight for justice started because the work execution was substandard and unsatisfactory. Mention may be made of the joint verification undertaken by the CSOs along with District Administration, concerned department and M/s TTC Infra India on 22/05/2023 where the Executive Engineer, NH, Kohima Division categorically stated on the spot that works on most stretches were unsatisfactory and that necessary repairs needed to be done immediately.
3. In the same paragraph, where M/s TTC Infra India has stated “… the MoRTH, the State Government, the District Administration and the Office of the Chief Engineer PWD (NH) on one side and land owners on the other side, have not been able to resolve issues relating to land compensation”, and again in the third and fourth paragraphs they have dwelt on the issue of compensation and non-demolishing of buildings, structures, etc. for which compensation have already been paid. On this too, we support their assertion.We make it crystal clear that it is the look out and responsibility of the concerned authorities to clear all bottlenecks. The current issue became more complicated due to the discriminatory and arbitrary nature of compensation disbursement undertaken by the concerned authorities. It is worth asking why unnecessary payments were made including in undeserving cases while denying the same to deserving ones and in some cases where allegedly compensated sites/buildings are beyond ROW thereby incurring excess expenditure in the process.
4. In the fifth and tenth paragraphs, M/s TTC Infra India has repeatedly claimed that the contract authority, i.e., the Chief Engineer PWD (NH), has found no fault with their work execution till date. This cannot be further from the truth. The joint inspections of the ongoing works undertaken by the CSOs along with concerned authorities and the contractor are as follows: First inspection – May 13, 2023; Second inspection – May 22, 2023; and Third inspection led by none other than the Deputy Chief Minister of Nagaland who is also the Minister in charge of National Highways – December 4, 2023. In all these joint inspections, the concerned Department’s officials expressed their dissatisfaction of ongoing works as, in some portions, even the executed works had deteriorated. Mention may be made that even within the already executed works, some culverts, drainages, etc., have been constructed on sites convenient to the contractor. During said third inspection, even the Deputy Chief Minister of Nagaland testified to our concerns saying that our cause was genuine.
5. In the seventh, eight and tenth paragraphs where they have dwelt on the “obstructions” and “complete standstill in the execution of the contract project”, and “closure of the execution of the contract project” ruing the work days lost blaming “protestors of different hues and their obstructions”, it is to be noted that these so-called “standstills” are mostly of their own making. The CSOs as well as the Joint Action Committee (JAC) on the NH-2 (Old NH-61) Two-Lane Construction from Km 72.40 to Km 83.00 within Wokha district got involved on the issue only later after the mentioned date of their first “complete standstill”. Before that, there might have been minor instances of obstructions by unknown individuals working for their vested interests but the CSOs as well as the JAC got involved on the issue to stop all these unwarranted disturbances in the ongoing development work as well as to check that the execution of works were done according to the specifications of the project. M/s TTC Infra India has also alleged that “Additional and repeated demands by certain sections resulted in the further closure of the execution of the contract project from 05.08.2023” but the same M/s TTC Infra India had written to the Wokha Village Youth Organization (WVYO) vide their letter Ref. No.: TTC/WOKHA/NH-61/020-21/072 with subject “Widening of existing single/intermediate lane road to 2 lane road from Km.72.40 to Km 83.00 on NH-61 in the state of Nagaland on EPC Mode (Job No: 061/NG/2019-20/104) Reg:. Execute the Work” dated 10th August 2023 saying the ongoing work “is not being executed with full swing due to continue rainfall in the region and also less of labour. Hence, we assure your good office to we will execute the work with full swing after the rainy season (sic).” Written records do not lie like some organizations with vested interests.
6. There is a rumour that M/s TTC Infra India is sub-letting the work to some local contractor/s. Perhaps, therein lies the problems.
Related: Read press release issued earlier by TTC Infra India here
7. The apex CSOs of Wokha district, having exhausted our energy in fighting for our right to have good roads, were compelled to resort to the indefinite bandh of the National Highway passing through Wokha district w.e.f. 6 am, 08/02/2024 till our demands are met including addressing our various grievances which have already been submitted in our numerous correspondences and negotiations with the concerned authorities, and immediate commencement of said work which has been arbitrarily stopped. And we shall intensify the indefinite bandh.
8. As the directions of even the Deputy Chief Minister of Nagaland have gone unheeded on the issue, we also demand that the concerned authority, the MoRTH, do a spot verification of the ongoing work so that the truth will come out.
Lotha Eloe Hoho
Lotha Students’ Union
Wokha District Village Council Chairmen Association
Joint Action Committee
Wokha Town Colonies’
All Commercial Vehicle Association, Wokha
Lotha Youth Hoho