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Gauhati High Court disposes of PIL on quality of Wokha-Merapani Road Project

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The Gauhati High Court recently disposed of a PIL pertaining to rehabilitation and upgradation of Wokha-Merapani Road Project from Wokha Junction (0/000km) to (60/585 km) in three packages in Assam and Nagaland on Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) mode.

The PIL is filed by petitioner (Lotha Hoho), the Apex Tribal Organization of the Lotha Tribes in Nagaland.

After protracted hearing on the matter, the High Court monitored the progress of the construction of the road and on the last date of hearing , that is, 08.12.2021 the Chief Engineer, PWD (R&B) filed the report after inspection of the road with concerned officials and all the stake-holders. The final inspection was carried out on 04.12.2021 in presence of all stake-holders and the progress and execution of the contractual agreement has been specifically mentioned in the report showing satisfactory progress.

However, Taka Masa, the counsel for the petitioner, apprised the Court that it would be in the interest of justice for him to get back after consultation with his clients.

On Wednesday,  when the matter was put up for consideration, Masa submitted that substantial part of the work has been executed as per the contract agreement contained in Schedule B of the contract agreement. However, there are some specific areas where certain clarifications and shortcomings need to be addressed like the quality of road and drainage.

The counsel also expressed that the petitioners are now exhausted and the matter may be left to the discretion of the Court to pass an appropriate order as it deemed fit after seeing the report.

The Division Bench of Justice S. Hukato Swu and Justice Kakheto Sema after considering the report noted that there has been substantial progress for completion of the road.

However, the Court observed that it will be in the interest of justice to let certain conditions as submitted by counsel Taka Masa be recorded. Therefore, the Court directed the authorities that the quality of the works and also the specification as contained in the work agreement be followed before completion certificate may be issued.

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