Crores have been swindled. Petrol Pumps and hotels have come-up in a short span of time but the roads which a Doda based contractor was constructing have long been forgotten and now are known as ‘Death Trap’.
Being interconnecting roads of Doda district, none bothers to take to task those involved in the road construction across this hilly and accident-prone district. According to a report of PWD department, the roads which are under-construction across district Doda have either sunk or they are sinking. In most other cases, the roads are not feasible for even traveling by foot what to talk driving a car or bus over them.
The Deputy Commissioners have never bothered to question this pathetic attitude of the contractors. Neither has ever been an FIR lodged nor has anyone bothered to take to task those who were handed over the responsibility of constructing these roads. Sources said that the contractors involved in these roads were engaged in road construction work by GVPKR, a Hyderabad based company.
The Company, according to sources was forced to sublet the work to these contractors since it had virtually no idea about area in which work had been allotted to it. They added that this contractor was helped by leaders of both Congress and National Conference (NC) in pressurizing GVK to handover the work to them. The Hyderabad based company had no option but to allot the work to these contractors.
After having been allotted the work, these contractors who neither had infrastructure nor requisite work force had no option but to delay the start of work on these roads. As per terms of the contract, these roads had to be completed within 18 months from the date of start of the project but even after prolonged delay, earthwork on around 21 percent had been completed on these roads.
Though the PWD engineers said that the delay was primarily due to lack of commitment on the part of original contractors GVPKR but sources said that there was no delay from the company but it was purely due to inefficiency of local contractor that the construction work got extremely delayed. Company officials told Newspoint Bureau that they sent communications to contractor for commencing the work but he didn’t respond.
They added that the contractor would often boost of his connections with higher-ups, forcing them to remain silent. Pertinently, under the PMGSY norms, only 25 percent of a particular project can be subletted which is not the case in this project. Such was the terror created by this contractor that no engineer, supervisor or worker of GVPKR ever came on the spot to review the ongoing work, added the sources.
They maintained that GVPKR engineers have not been even visited Doda once to have a look at the construction work being carried out by local engineers. “This was purely because we were being told that all is being done according to rules and regulations. So we had no option but to believe what was being said,” said another official. He added that the state government officials had created such an environment wherein we had no option but to believe what was being said.
According to sources, even the sub-contractor would not to regularly visit construction site. On being asked that PWD officials have in repeated communications informed the higher ups that inspite of their continuous calls to the GVPR, the company never placed their men on work, thus evading and escaping accountability and responsibility; the officials said that this is blatant lie.
“We have our offices both in Jammu and Srinagar. Where comes the question of being not available,” added the GVPR official. However, sources told Newspoint Bureau that there is no work going on Bhaboor-Jijoot road. Only earth work of 2.5Kms out of the total length of proposed 15 Km of road has been carried out. The work has been stopped now without assigning any reason.
This unprofessional attitude of contractors has not only wasted the time of government-which is as bad as stealing the money of the government but also kept the people of far-flung area aloof from necessary connectivity, thus preventing them from being part of growing economy of state. There are also several issues of land acquisition: The land of the villagers which is also their source of employment has been basic causality of a number of developmental projects including this one.