PWD engineers blamed for failing to get environmental clearance

SHILLONG, Mar 8: A resident of East Jaintia Hills has slammed the State’s Public Works Department (PWD) for its unprofessional attitude leading to the delay in comstruction of a road in the district.

Kynjaimon Amse of Umkiang Village, said that the government of Meghalaya could not secure environment clearance even after eight years since the project was proposed.

The Rymbai-Borkhat-Jalalpur road which was proposed in the year 2011 by the State’s PWD(Road) at the cost of Rs. 97.94 crore to the North Eastern Council (NEC) was suppose to take off in the year 2012.

According to Amse, the NEC has many times requested the PWD(Road) to obtain the necessary clearance from all department concern so that it can accord sanction to the project.

“It is very sad, discouraging and unprofessional on the part of the office of the Chief Engineer, PWD(Road) that they have applied for Environment Clearance to the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), Department of Forest and Environment, for as many as eight times between the year 2011-2016 but all these application were rejected and returned by the authority on every occasion because the Office of Chief Engineer PWD(Road) did make the application in the correct format as required by law,” he said.

“Even after being told by the SEIAA about the defects of the applications and also suggest changes, the PWD(Road) failed to make the application as required and therefore rejected several times. This put a serious question on the seriousness, credibility of the engineers in the Office of Chief Engineer PWD(Road),” Amse added.

He also informed that fed up by the repeated mistake being made by the engineers of the PWD(Road), the SEIAA in the year 2017 asked the department to hire specialized agency to assist them in drafting and making the application for Environment Clearance/Terms of Reference (TOR) before it.

Amse informed that it was after this,that the Office of Chief Engineer PWD(Road), awarded this task to Enviro Infra Solutions Private Limited against an amount of Rs 21.44 lakhs.

However, he informed that even after hiring the above stated consultant to acquire the necessary clearance, the proposal made to the SEIAA was returned back on March, 6 this year to the government due to shortcomings.

“The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, returned and rejected the application because the PWD failed to make the application in the correct format and order as required by law,” Amse added.

Condemning the PWD engineers for their unprofessional act, for delay to resolve the decades long problem of the people in the border village, Amse informed that the NEC has recently written to him informeing that they are willing to accord sanction to the project but it is the Meghalaya government which has negligently failed to get the required clearance.

Amse asked, “Why after spending more than Rs 21 lakhs, PWD failed to get any clearance? Why there is so much delay in getting the clearance? and Should we blame the engineer for being unprofession, negligent or unaware of their duty?”

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