RTI exposes shortcomings in Natipora-Newa-Pul Road Project
Srinagar, Aug 26: The official documents received by a civil society group under RTI Act have pointed out several shortcomings and flaws in the Natipora-Newa-Pulwama Road project.
The construction of 24-kilometer road is being executed by Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA).
According to the documents, the work on Rs 29.61 Crore project was started in October 2007 and was to be completed within two years (till October 2009). But a large portion of the road was incomplete on this date. “When the project didn’t get completed, the ERA extended the deadlines. The present date of completion has been put as September 30,” the information reveals.
The details of the project, which were asked by Abu Bakr Educational Society Parigam Pulwama from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) ERA, revealed huge differences from the approved Short Resettlement Plan (SRP) of the project.
As per the drawings, a copy of which is lying with Greater Kashmir, the drainage system was proposed on both sides of the road in built up areas (from RD three kilometer to 22.480 kilometer stretch). But the drains were constructed on only one side of the road in maximum road strips. The absence of drain and ‘uneven level’ at many places affects the residents and the shopkeepers along the road, who complain of ‘water logging’.
According to the representatives of Abu Bakr Educational Society the drains on the sides at Parigam were constructed within the carriage way leaving aside 3-4feets of land. “The locals objected the construction that time. But consulting engineers didn’t pay heed to the several requested,” the representatives said.
The society filed first RTI on March 3, 2009 seeking details about the overall project. “After first RTI application was filed on March 03, 2009 the field engineer accepted that the drain strip was defective and he promised to reconstruct it along the boundary, but till date the defective drain still exists there”, said General Secretary of the Society, Syed Ishtiyaq.
The drawings also reveal that the iron rods were supposed to be used in the drain construction. But according to the educational society members “no iron rods were used and the width is not as per the drawing, which was put as 9 ½ feet.”
In the built up areas, the drawing revealed, the ERA had to construct three layered hard boulders (of cement concrete) of 450mm thickness (150mm GSBC+100mm CC M-15+200mm CC M-25). “But the cement concrete is no where in scene.”
The document revealed that the construction firm, which had bagged the contract, had sublet it to the local contractors.
The process of subletting, the experts believed, lowers the work standards. “The equipments and the manpower that the parent company would have provided, locals cannot”, an Engineer said on the condition of anonymity.
LAND ACQUISITION/ COMPENSATION OF AFFECTED
The total estimated cost for resettlement operation and management for the Project is Rs 6,653,729 which includes Compensation for land, structures, etc, Resettlement Grant and Administrative Grant.
The project as per the Technical design and Short Resettlement Plan (SRP) on Asian Development Bank (ADB) website, was supposed to acquire 40 strips of land under structures and open private agricultural land measuring 1342.35 Square meters of private land owned by 41 families comprising 197 persons located along the subproject.
According to SRP document the Income loss of only four families will take place and their loss will be compensated as per the ADB guidelines. “Two families fall under BPL category and they are being assisted as per the guidelines given in the entitlement matrix. Land Acquisition will be done as per the provisions of State Land Acquisition Act 1990, preferably through Private negotiation and if necessary through Compulsory Acquisition,” the document reads.
It said the compensation would also be paid for loss of income and subsistence from standing crops including trees (if any affected due to subproject). “Those eligible for compensation will be given advance notice about the dealings. The payment of compensation will be monitored and verified by NGO/Agency as well as representatives of the affected families,” said the document.
The details of the losses incurred by the 42 affected families are also included in the plan. “However many notified families are yet to receive the compensation under the guidelines”, the representatives of Educational society said.
Ali Muhammad Bhat & Muhammad Abdullah Tantray of Wanpora village come under the notified list of APs, but they were not given any compensation. “The ERA issued the notice under which our structures were listed, but they haven’t paid us a single penny”, said Tantray.
He said only few families were paid the compensation due to which main bottle necks were still to be acquired and widened.
Similarly, Abdul Qayoom Mir and Muhammad Sultan Khan had not been compensated for the land and the boundary wall till now.
The APs also alleged that they haven’t received any compensation for the felling of trees. “It’s a violation of the SRP and the technical proposal which we received through RTI”, Ishtiyaq said.
“ERA provides us incomplete information. In a reply to our RTI application they refused that there was any compensation approved in any Asian Development Bank Project,” he said.
When contacted, the Project Manager Transport ERA, SK Gandotra told Greater Kashmir that they had tried to use the already existing drains and canals for water outlet. “At some places we gave slope to the road to avoid water logging on the road in absence of drain and the iron rods were used in some places as per requirement,” he said.
On the issue of subletting the work as ‘violation of plan,’ Gandotra said he was not aware of that. “It’s there (contractors) personal matter; our concern is to check whether the contractor is giving us quality work or not”, he said. “Our engineers are doing the quality control continuously and if they find any low standard they immediately cancel the work.”
When asked about the land acquisition he said, “Some 7-8 families have given their land voluntarily for the project and now they are seeking compensation. We had still forwarded there applications to the higher authorities, which would be looked into.”
Lastupdate on : Fri, 26 Aug 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 26 Aug 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 27 Aug 2011 00:00:00 IST
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