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Shillong, The Meghalaya High Court has directed the state government to hold contractors liable to carry out the repair works of roads if a road is damaged or gives way within a specified time after completion of construction. A Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice W Diengdoh on Thursday said, “Indeed, the state would do well to seek a kind of warranty so that the contractors are liable to carry out the repair work if a road appears damaged or gives way within a specified time after the completion of its construction.”

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by AH Hazarika following delay in construction and repair of the Agia-Mendhipara-Phulbari-Tura (AMPT) Road in western Meghalaya.

The bench has also directed the Supervising Engineer of PWD (Roads) overseeing the construction of the road stretch to ensure that the standard as required of the contractor is maintained so that there is no deterioration in the condition of the road shortly after the completion of construction.

In its report, the state government submitted that sufficient progress has been made and that at least a 33 km out of 41 km stretch has been completed and work is in full swing in the rest of the stretches.

The petitioner, however, complained that the work on the remaining part of the 41 km stretch has been awarded to six different contractors and, in any event, the work undertaken by the contractors is “sub-standard”.

The petitioner also apprehended that within a month or so after the purported completion, the road “may subside and the black-topping may no longer be in existence.” Over several short stretches of the AMPT Road, a number of contractors have been engaged.

In response, the state said that this has been done to expedite the work, particularly since local contractors may not have the resources to undertake work on larger stretches and complete the same within a short time.

The next hearing of the case will be held on February 20 next year. PTI JOP RG RG


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