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Gauhati High Court disposes of PIL against road work project in Arunachal Pradesh

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The Gauhati High Court has recently observed the road from Yazali Mengio road to Sito via Tepi village is for the benefit of the people of both villages and the construction of the road is completed at the earliest with acceptable quality of construction.

The Itanagar Division Bench of Justice Achintya Malla Bujor Barua and Justice Robin Phukan closed a Public Interest Litigation filed by one Debia Tab.

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The petitioner is a resident of Tepi village under Pistana Circle in the Lower Subansiri District, Arunachal Pradesh. The petitioner refers to a detailed estimate for technical sanction for the work “c/o Road from Yazali Mengio road to Sito via Tepi village”. As per the detailed estimate, the estimated cost is Rs 12,50,00.654 i.e. approximately Rs 12.50 crore.

The PIL is instituted on the grievance that while undertaking the aforesaid work, there is a deviation by the authorities, which according to the local people would be unacceptable. Accordingly, the PIL  is instituted to stop the ongoing road construction activities of the road from Yazali Mengio Road to Sito village via Tepi village and also not to release the contractual payment bills to the contractors who are undertaking the work as well as for a direction to issue a fresh Notice Inviting Tender (NIT) for the construction of the work.

While considering the PIL, the Court held that if the grievance of the petitioner is that there is a deviation in the construction work from the work provided in the Detailed Project Report (DPR), the Bench does not understand why the petitioner wants the road construction work to be stopped and further not to release any contractual payment bills to the contractors for the work that is performed as well as to issue a fresh NIT.

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In order to understand the alignment of the road that was sanctioned as per the aforementioned DPR, the High Court took note of the alignment plan for the road. The alignment plan of the road is amply clear that the construction is to be undertaken from the place marked as Take Up Point to Sito village through the Tepi village by crossing a bridge over Polyu River.

R.H. Nabam, Additional Advocate General, upon instruction stated that the road construction is as per the alignment.

If the construction of the road is going on as per the alignment plan for the road, the Bench was of the view that no interference is required from the High Court at this stage.

“No specific material is available in the PIL on the allegation of the petitioner as to whether any deviation of the alignment plan from the actual road construction is going on. If the petitioner has any further material, liberty is granted to the petitioner to approach again with more specific detailed information as to in what manner there is a deviation in the construction of the road from the alignment plan for road as available in the DPR. However, we observe that as it is a road for the benefits of the local people of Tepi village and Sito village, we expect that the construction of the road is completed at the earliest with acceptable quality of construction as required under the DPR”

-observed the Court.

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Accordingly, the Bench closed the PIL with the above observation, however,  the High Court  granted liberty to the petitioner to approach again if more specific information is available as to any deviation from the alignment plan of the road provided in the DPR.

It is stated by R.H. Nabam that the construction of the road from the Take Up Point to Sito village via Tepi village through the bridge over Polyu river would take approximately seven months to be completed and the work would be completed as per DPR requirement.

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