September 27, 2020

Inquiry prod over poor repairs on NH 80

Bhagalpur: Bhagalpur divisional commissioner Rajesh Kumar has requested the road construction department principal secretary to conduct an inquiry into what he called irregularities in the repair of National Highway 80.

Rajesh has asked the department to send a high-level technical team to inquire into repairs on the highway.

Earlier this month, 28-year-old Vibha Kumari died in advanced labour pain in Bhagalpur because the autorickshaw she was travelling in was stuck in a jam for three hours on the national highway.

Rajesh wrote to principal secretary Amrit Lal Meena on Monday, urging for a detailed investigation following protests by the students, social organisations, political parties and students against the poor condition of the 30km stretch on the highway.

“The repair work is of very poor standard and several factors have been overlooked,” said second-year engineering student Surjya Prakash. “It does not look like the road will last long.”

The divisional commissioner also said he had showcaused the national highways engineer of the Bhagalpur division, Raj Kumar, last week but received no reply.

Rajesh said Palak Infra, a private company assigned to repair the 30km stretch from Zero Mile to Ramjanipur, took Rs 17 crore out of Rs 48 crore but almost no work had been done in the past year.

“There was no apparent work, as we have been receiving public complaints with the road turning dangerous. When I started an inquiry, I found that the engineer concerned supported the construction agency with false and fabricated. Claims were made that repair was completed on the stretch, but in reality, nothing was done,” he said.

He showcaused Raj Kumar on August 2, asking for a reply in 24 hours. He also showcaused superintending engineer, national highways, Bhagalpur circle, Lakshmi Narayan Singh on August 4.

Rajesh wrote to Meena on the slow pace of work, even as the Bhagalpur district administration blocked traffic from August 1-7 for repair.

Singh was unavailable for comment, but Raj Kumar claimed he had already replied to the divisional commissioner’s showcause on August 6. “Though I am not supposed to speak to the media, I can only say it’s not fair to accuse us in the entire matter. There are several things that hamper repair work,” he said.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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